Some of you may have heard of the legendary lost city of Atlantis, a magical place that sunk into the ocean and was lost forever. Whether it truly existed or not, there are many real lost cities that have been discovered under our seas and oceans from Egypt to Jamaica. Let's explore some of these amazing underwater cities.
Thonis-Heracleion was once one of the most important port cities of the Mediterranean. Now what was once the official port of entry for Egypt lies beneath the sea. Dug up after 1,200 years, artifacts have been found that show the city was once an important port and trading centre: 60 shipwrecks, coins, tablets, as well as many large stone statues and temples. No one really knows how the city ended up at the bottom of the sea but it’s thought that it sank after a large earthquake.
At the foot of the Wu Shi Mountain (“Five Lion Mountain”) in Zhejiang Province, China lies the ancient city of Shicheng (“Lion City”). It was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty sometime between 25-200 A.D. and was the centre of politics and economics for the province. But now the many houses and temples lie 25-40 metres underwater. In 1959, more than 300,000 residents were relocated when the Chinese government built a dam and the area was flooded, creating Qiandao Lake.
Local stories passed from generation to generation tell of the long-lost underwater city of Wanaku hidden in Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca, where there may be treasured Spanish gold. It looks like the stories may be true - well, maybe some of them! Recently, there have been more than 200 dives into the high-altitude lake to document the ruins of an ancient temple complex that has been found sitting at the bottom. Estimated to be around 1,500 years old, the complex has roads, walls, a temple and terraces just 20 metres underwater.
Atlit-Yam is an ancient submerged Neolithic (also known as the New Stone Age) village off the coast of Atlit, Israel that dates to 6,900-6,300 B.C. That means the buildings were constructed over 7,500 years ago! It’s believed the village sunk after nearby Mount Etna blew up causing a major tidal wave along the coast. The large settlement include a stone well, ancient roads, artifacts such as tools, round structures, and an ancient stone circle that may have been used for worship.
Chances are, when you think of Port Royal, Jamaica, you probably think of Captain Jack Sparrow and his famous adventures on the ship the Black Pearl. But did you know that this city located at the end of a 29-km sand spit was a thriving shipping port (yes, with pirates too) with a population of over 7,000 people back in 1692? But even its forts couldn’t save Port Royal from Mother Nature and on June 7, 1692 a series of three earthquakes caused it to crumble into the sea. Of the city’s original 20 hectares, 13 hectares were left 2-11 metres below the ocean’s surface. In the 1950s, underwater excavations revealed the city’s history as archaeologists and discovered many sunken fortresses.