The fault of mother nature, its tsunamis, the rise of water and other volcanic eruptions, some cities were submerged under the sea. And yes, these acheological wonders are not just myth but really exist. Today, buried in the seabed, several meters deep, these sites are real underwater treasures that will, without a shadow of a doubt, amaze divers and provide one of the greatest diving experience ever. Spotmydive provides you with the “official” list of the 7 places to dive in underwater cities. Let’s discover the list of the best underwater cities diving sites.
Atlit Yam, Israel
It is the oldest discovered submerged city to date. Its existence goes back to the Neolithic period and more exactly to about 9000 or 10 000 years. This village was discovered in the 80’s, in 1984, by Ehud Galili, an underwater archaeologist, while the whole village was under sand. This site would have been occupied during 7 century before being abandoned. Located near the town of Atlit and the fortress of Castle Pilgrim, south of the city of Haifa, this underwater archaeological diving site is between 8 and 12 meters deep about 200 to 400 meters from the coast. Human remains have even been discovered on this site, which would have been engulfed by a tsunami caused by an eruption of the famous volcano, Etna. At Atlit Yam, you will find, among other things, megaliths strongly resembling what can be seen in Stonehenge … but in miniature.
Also known as Thonis, the city of Heraclion is located near the city of Aboukir. It is discovered by the underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio at the beginning of the 2000s. It is because of the erosion of the ground and the advance of the water that the city disappears progressively between the 6th and the 7th century. Often mentioned by Homer, it has long been thought that the city of Thonis-Heraclion was simply a legend. Franck Goddio has proved the opposite. Archaeologists who had the opportunity to search the site were able to find gold coins, sculptures of a height of 5 meters, tablets with inscriptions and even sarcophagi with mummified animals inside. Lara Croft would have loved to find this city which represent one of the best underwater treasure found ever. Thonis-Heraclion was one of the main ports for maritime traffic in the region.
Pavlopetri is part of UNESCO World Heritage. It is one of the oldest sunken cities in Greece. The site is located south of the Peloponnese, on the Ionian coast. The city, swamped, according to specialists, because of numerous earthquakes and the advance of the sea, was discovered in 1967 by Nicholas Flemming. It is only 4 meters deep. However, the first explorations took place from 2009. The first traces of life that archaeologists have been able to trace back to almost 5000 years and the Bronze Age. What is incredible is the state of the site. It remains perfectly preserved, it is even possible to reconstitute an almost complete plan of the city as it was. The locations of streets, buildings and others are almost intact. Inside this underwater city, one can find tombs as well as steles. In the Mycenaean period, Pavlopetri was a port of significant importance for both local and distant trade across the Mediterranean.
Port Royal, Jamaica
Small island located south of the city of Kingston and created in the XVI century, Port-Royal was formerly the seat of the British government in Jamaica. Renowned port and hub of English trade in the Caribbean Sea, Port Royal was also a land of pirates. Indeed, in order to defend the port of the possible attacks of the French and Spanish ships, the British crown sheltered, on the port, pirates and privateers. On June 7, 1692, the port was partially destroyed by an earthquake, two-thirds of the city being buried under water. This earthquake caused many deaths, the number of which is estimated at around 2000. Since this disaster, many divers have come to discover the ruins of the port in search of some marvels.
Discovered in 1985 by Kirachiro Aratake, the pyramid of Yonaguni-Jima is the subject of numerous scientific debates. Vestige of a prehistoric city? This is the question we ask ourselves about this mysterious pyramid and to which nobody can answer with certainty. Anyway, this strange monument, located near the archipelago of Ryuku, remains imposing and spectacular. The Yonaguni site covers an area of 28 km² and its main monument, an enormous underwater pyramid, is 75 meters long and 25 meters high. A show more than odd and high fly for any diver venturing near this monument.
ShiCheng City of Lions, China
Located in Lake Qiandao, in the province of Zhéjiang, south of Shanghai, the city of lions or ShiCheng in Mandarin, was once populated by some 290,000 inhabitants for more than a millennium. This city is definitly the most famous sunken city in China. With the creation of Lake Qiandao in 1959 to meet the hydroelectric needs of the people of the region, the city is completely flooded and engulfed. Today, it is found buried under water between 30 and 40 meters deep. Built during the Han and Tang Dynasties, ie between 25 and 200 BC, ShiCheng is perfectly preserved, the buildings are still intact. A sweet pleasure for the eyes. Note that in the seventh century, this city had a significant weight in China and was a major economic and cultural center.
Located north of the Gulf of Naples, Baia, or Baia nowadays, is the name given to an ancient Roman city. This seaside resort of ancient Rome is today largely under water. And for good reason, the ancient part of the city is practically and completely submerged because of the landslide created by bradyseism rise or slow decline of the ground level, of volcanic origin. Those who manage to dive near the Bay of Naples, will surely have the opportunity to admire the countless riches of this ancient Roman city. Archaeological remains of the time, such as statues from the 1st century BC, mosaics or simply everyday objects strewn the Neapolitan seabed. In addition, the foundations of the city are still visible through an extremely clear water. A seascape filled with stories and undiscovered treasures.
Do you know any other sunken city ? Did you dive in an underwater city ? Feel free to let us know.