12 submerged cities
Among the great structures known since ancient times, cities have been preserved in almost pristine condition thanks to their submergence.
Throughout history, humans have constantly reclaimed living space from the elements. But the reverse has also happened: the elements have taken it back. The mythical Atlantis, the legendary city of Tyre and many others. In this article we are going to tell you about ancient cities which turned out to be underwater.
These ancient cities were submerged quite recently during the construction of hydroelectric power plants. Their first mention dates back to the I-II centuries AD.
As a result of the damming, these ancient cities were under water in just one night.
Pavlopetri was once a rich trading town in the southern Peloponnese. What is known is that its heyday was in the Mycenaean period of the Bronze Age (the era of the Trojan War, the legendary King Minos and Homer). It is unknown how the city ended up under water.
Now it is located near the shore at a depth of 3-4 meters.
The richest city, a bastion of culture and art lies partially at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Its remains are in what is now Lebanon and are better known as Sur.
The legendary city of Dwarka, capital of the kingdom of Krishna, is considered to be the oldest city in India. There is a hypothesis that its modern version stands on the site of six cities that sank to the seabed.
Underwater archaeologists are now excavating the ruins of six ancient cities.
Port Royal, Jamaica
A city built in Jamaica was cut loose by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 1692. Entire city blocks, markets, churches, warehouses and outbuildings were submerged by the Caribbean Sea.
It is now a favorite diving spot for divers and underwater archaeologists to explore.
Dioscuria, Black Sea (modern territory of Abkhazia)
The oldest Greek colony, located near the capital of Abkhazia, Sukhumi. Archaeologists have determined that the city flourished until about the 3rd century AD, after which it fell into decline and found itself at the bottom of the sea.
Cuban underwater city, Cuba
Presumably the oldest city of the Aztecs or Maya, the name has not yet. This is the correct geometric formations of stone, an area of two square kilometers. The reasons why it went under water, is still unknown.
Cleopatra’s Palace, Egypt.
Near Alexandria, the ruins of an ancient palace rest beneath the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Supposedly it was the palace of Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Supposedly it went under water more than 1600 years ago due to an earthquake along with the seventh wonder of the world, the Faros Lighthouse.
Mahabalipuram Temples, India
A complex of seven temples that went underwater in a major earthquake. According to legend they were not the only structure, but an entire city.
Currently being actively searched for the lost city.
This giant structure was found by an amateur diver in 1995 off the coast of Okinawa. According to research, the giant stone blocks are the work of man. The age of the structures is impressive – more than 8,000 years old.
According to the hypothesis, these are the remains of the extinct continent of Mu.
Discovered in 1930 in the eastern bay of Alexandria. The historian Herodotus wrote about the beautiful prosperous city of Egypt, but it did not survive because of an earthquake.
Atli Yam Ruins, Israel
These ruins date from the seventh millennium BC. They are the oldest remains of sunken settlements ever found by archaeologists. The ruins were found in 1984, but to this day are poorly understood. It remains a mystery why the city was sunk: it could have been the tsunami or the rising level of the world’s oceans.
10 sunken cities of the ancient world, the main contenders for the title of lost Atlantis
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The story of an ancient, almost mythical civilization, Atlantis, still stirs the imagination. The thought that the city simply went under water because of natural disasters, excites the mind. Therefore, in every new settlement that is found under water, they see the mythical Atlantis.
10. Tronis – Heraklion, Egypt
This city was called Heraklion by the Greeks and Tronis by the Egyptians. Once located on the northern coast of Egypt and considered one of the most important port cities of the Mediterranean, it is now at the bottom of the sea it once served. The 1,200-year-old city has recently been found underwater and is gradually revealing its secrets. Artifacts that are being brought to the surface show that at one time it was a large trading center and a busy port. More than 60 ancient ships that were sunk in the port area for various reasons have also been found, along with hundreds of anchors, coins, tablets with inscriptions in Greek and Egyptian, and large sculptures from temples. These temples, dedicated to the gods, remained almost untouched.
The city was the official port of Egypt from 664 to 332 B.C. It is now 6.5 km. away from the coast. As in many other sunken cities, the artifacts have been preserved in good condition, which helps to recreate as accurately as possible a picture of the life of the cities, their architecture and layout. If you answer the question of how the cities ended up at the bottom of the sea, it’s most likely as a result of an earthquake. Since the city was located on the coast, it could easily go under water due to geological processes.
9. Phanagoria, Russia/Greece
The ancient city of Phanagoria, the hero of myths and works of art, really existed. If you read the history of Rome, we know that in 63 BC rebellion ended with the fact that most of the city was burned, the wife and children of Mithridates VI were killed by an angry mob. For a long period it was thought that this was just a myth, until archaeologists examined the underwater necropolis of Phanagoria and discovered a tombstone whose inscription read: “Hipsikrates, wife of Mithridates VI.” Hipsikrates is the male version of the name Hipsikratia. This tombstone confirmed the reality of the legend that Hipsikrathia was bald, taciturn and manly, so her husband addressed her by calling her by her male name.
Phanagoria is the largest Greek city now in Russia. It was founded on the coast of the Black Sea in the 6th century BC and is now the third sunken city that may be the legendary Atlantis. Although much of it today is covered by a thick layer of sand, scientists have highlighted port structures and a large necropolis. Pedestals on which large statues stood and a large number of urban artifacts have also been found. Having existed for 1,500 years, the city was abandoned in the 10th century, but the reason for this is not known. Since the 18th century, the city has attracted the attention of archaeologists, but excavations are very slow because of the characteristics of the bottom and the ball of sand, which in places is 7 m wide.
8. Cleopatra’s Palace, Egypt
Part of the ancient Alexandria is at the bottom of the ocean. The 2,000-year-old city has been the subject of archaeological excavations for decades. It is a long and complex process that overcomes a number of difficulties due to the depth and lack of visibility hiding the part of the city that was sunk in the earthquake. In addition to the royal palace, temples, quarters, military buildings and outposts, and large private complexes have been found, all in perfect condition, preserved over the centuries. Archaeologists have also found Cleopatra’s palace complex, which she called her and Mark Antony home, the place where she committed suicide to avoid surrendering to her invaders.
Huge granite statues remain lying at the bottom of the ocean, where they once fell, the result of a series of earthquake tremors between the 4th and 8th centuries B.C. Mark Antony’s home, Timomium, where he hid during difficult periods of his life, is also there. Archaeologists were able to clear the temple of Isis, statues of Cleopatra’s father and son, and other artifacts, including dishes, jewelry, amulets, small statues, and ritual boats, which have been brought to the surface from the sand. In 1994, archaeologists explored the ruins of the Alexandria Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. An underwater museum is planned to allow tourists to stay dry as they descend underwater and walk around the sunken city so that those who wish to see the finds can do so. Funding and construction difficulties are hampering the plans.
7. Shicheng, China
The Chinese city of Shicheng was founded 1,300 years ago and most of the buildings appeared over the next 300 years after its foundation. The unique architecture includes buildings dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties of the 14th century. Nothing can resist progress, nor did the city of Shincheng, which was flooded by a hydroelectric dam in 1959. More than 300,000 residents left their ancestral homes. Today the city is underwater at a depth of 40 meters and is well preserved.
The city is not completely lost. In 2001, the Chinese government took an interest in its fate and found that it was quite well preserved, if it were not for the water, one gets the impression that the city continues to live. The walls date from the 16th century and are still standing, including the city gate and numerous statues. Today divers are rediscovering this city and its greatness for themselves and the world.
6. Olus, Crete, Greece
If most of the sunken cities are difficult to reach physically or because they are heavily excavated, the ruins of the city of Olus are accessible to all. It was founded on the northeast coast of Crete and was home to 30,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. The city was not built on stones, as all Cretan cities are, but on sand, as most sunken cities are. A powerful earthquake tremor and it was under water. Today, people with scuba diving and snorkeling can take fascinating underwater walks, exploring the ruins and finding sunken artifacts like coins. Some structures, like the walls, are partially above the surface of the sea.
5. Mulifanua, Samoa.
The Lapita tribe, settlers of Micronesia and Polynesia, settled on the islands after leaving Taiwan and East Asia around 2000 BC. In 500 B.C., they established several settlements in the Pacific Islands. These people were gifted sailors and craftsmen, especially in the area of pottery making. More than 4,000 pieces of utensils belonging to the Lapita have been found in the islands of Samoa.
Archaeologists believe that the Mulifanua settlement was founded 3,000 years ago, during the great Pacific island migration. It is proof of the existence of the Lapita. At that time the island was sandy and wide. It is not known how many other settlements were there, as over the centuries the water and sand have obscured material evidence other than the shards found on the coast.
4. Dwarka, Cambay Bay, India
In 2002, the ruins of an ancient city were found in the Gulf of India. Since they are 40 meters deep, they were found completely by accident by a team investigating the level of pollution in the water. The discovery has made archaeologists reassess the timeline of civilization in this region. The city was founded 5 000 years ago. Originally, the oldest city was thought to be 4,000-year-old Harappa, which was considered the cradle of civilization. The Mesopotamian city was known for its sewage and water collection systems, well-planned streets, ports, and fortifications. It is said that it was founded by direct descendants who survived when their first city sank.
Skulls, beads, sculptures, and human bones were found at the site of the new found sunken city. According to carbon analysis, the human remains are 9,500 years old. At that time, the ocean level was much lower. The city was on the very shore and was swallowed by a wave of rising water, as a result of melting glaciers. The remains of the settlement were built near the river bed.
3. Ruins of an ancient city near Lake Titicaca, Bolivia/Peru
There are many legends surrounding Lake Titicaca. Even today, the locals consider it sacred. The lake’s depth and poor visibility make exploring the bottom difficult, and ignorance breeds legends. Recently, a team of dive explorers from the Akakor Geographical Exploring Society made 200 dives to the ruins of a sunken city. Ruins of temples, fragments of roads, walls and terraces where agricultural plants were once grown were found on the bottom. There has long been talk of the sunken city among the locals, but it was only through advances in technology that diving became possible. The remains of the temple complex were found at a depth of 20 meters when divers followed the road found on the bottom that led them to the find.
It is known from Inca mythology that the lake is the cradle of the origin of their civilization. Here was the city of Wanaku and the burial place of golden statues of the gods, which were hidden from the conquerors and then lost. Researchers found many artifacts at the bottom of the lake, including fragments of goldware, ceramic statues, stone statues, boats, human and animal bones, and incense containers.
2. Atlit Yam, Israel
Atlit Yam is the name given to a number of Neolithic buildings that were discovered on the Carmel shore. These structures were stone walls, foundations of houses and other buildings, circular foundations and ancient roads. It has been estimated that the structures were built 7,550 and 8,000 years ago and were destroyed by the tsunami caused by volcanic activity. In the center of the settlement was a structure in the form of stones laid out in a circle, resembling a place of sacrifice, there was also a source of water. Some of the stones stood upright while others were lying down, most likely acting as a table for sacrifices.
Human remains were also found here, including the skeletons of 65 men, women and children. A detailed examination of the finds revealed traces of tuberculosis, from which the people had died. This is the world’s first manifestation of the deadly disease, dating back 7,000 to 8,000 years. Stone, flint and bone tools were also found. In addition, seeds of native plants such as flax and barley were found. This indicates that people not only fished but also raised livestock and grew crops.
1. baia, Italy
Baia was an ancient Roman city whose style of life was similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. The nobility gathered here for games and recreation. Julius Caesar and Nero visited it. The city had many hot springs, as it stood in a zone of active geological processes, which contributed to the development of bathing business and spa procedures. In the 8th century, the Saracens took over the city, after which the former glory never returned to it, and around 1500 the inhabitants left it. After some time the town gradually sank into the waters of the bay.
Today these places are valuable from an archaeological point of view. Many tourists come here by boat to dive in search of artifacts. Here was found a statue of Odysseus, villas, arcades and the ruins of artificial ponds for breeding oysters and fish. Researchers have also found the famous Villa of Nero, which was built in the 1st century BC. Divers “walk” through the underwater city streets and swim into the once famous Roman baths. Admittedly, though, there are many more shipwrecks, so the chance of finding valuable treasure is much higher than discovering the lost Atlantis.