Predjama Castle, Slovenia
During the long siege, Erasmus had a secret tunnel dug through the cave and out the other side. He used this to allow resupplies to reach the castle and his troops to pillage the local land. According to legend, the siege only ended when Erasmus was killed by his own men.
The twisting maze of rooms hides a secret passage from the first floor to the third floor, which would have allowed frightened officials to make a hasty exit in an emergency. The passageway was hidden behind a fake fireplace and was only discovered in the 1920s.
Coughton Court, England
The Tudor mansion of Coughton Court in Warwickshire, England, was built by the Throckmorton family in the mid 1500s. The Throckmortons were Catholics in a newly Protestant country. They faced persecution for practising their faith, but they refused to abandon it.
Instead, they had a 'priest hole' built into Coughton Court; a secret room for hiding altars, crosses, and visiting priests, if they were raided by the authorities. Many rich Catholic families around England did the same, and many lives were saved by these secret chambers.
The Olde Bell, England
In the seaside village of Rye, England stands The Olde Bell. This quaint, historic pub is the perfect place for a pint of ale, but in the 1730s you might not find yourself welcome; the pub was used by the Hawkhurst Gang, and like any good outfit, they had a getaway plan…
…and The Mermaid Inn
A secret tunnel led from The Olde Bell under a street and a couple of houses, to The Mermaid Inn. If the long arm of the law came knocking, the Hawkhurst Gang could move themselves and their smuggled brandy and tobacco out of reach.
The Passetto di Borgo, The Vatican City
The Passetto was built in 1277 by Pope Nicholas III, though thankfully he didn't have to use it. It was however used by Pope Alexander VI in 1494 and later by Pope Clement VII, after his bodyguard were massacred during the 1527 Sack of Rome.
At the other end is the Castel Sant'Angelo. Originally an ancient Roman Mausoleum, this enormous stone structure was turned into a fortified Papal palace and prison. Today, this imposing building is a museum.
Perhaps its no surprise that many private rooms contained hidden passages to allow special guests discreet access at all hours of the day. Here, in the Queen's Bedchamber, is a secret doorway with a particularly special story…