Sunken Cities Of The Ancient World

August 2, 2011
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Though finding Atlantis may still be a pipe dream, these cities, long submerged in the depths of their surrounding oceans, provide enough mystery and wonder to whet your imaginations.


Cleopatra’s Kingdom, Alexandria, Egypt

Sunken City of Cleopatras Kingdom

Lost for 1,600 years, the royal quarters of Cleopatra were discovered off the shores of Alexandria. A team of marine archaeologists, led by Frenchman, Franck Goddio, began excavating the ancient city in 1998. Historians believe the site was submerged by earthquakes and tidal waves, yet, astonishingly, several artifacts remained largely intact. Amongst the discoveries were the foundations of the palace, shipwrecks, red granite columns, and statues of the goddess Isis and a sphinx. The Egyptian Government plans to create an underwater museum and hold tours of the site.

Cleopatras City Picture

Bay of Cambay, India

Bay of Cambay Ancient City

The Bay of Cambay was discovered by marine scientists in early 2002. The city is located 120 feet underwater in the Gulf of Cambay off the western coast of India. The city is five miles long and two miles wide, carbon dating estimates the site to be a whopping 9,500 years old, and, more amazingly, architectural and human remains are still intact. The discovery astounded scientists because it predates all other finds in the area by 5,000 years, suggesting a much longer history of the civilization than was first assumed. Marine scientists used sonar images and sum-bottom profiling to locate the lost ruins and it is believed the area was submerged when the ice caps melted in the last Ice Age. The Indian nationals have dubbed the find ‘Dwarka’ (The Golden City) in honor of ancient submerged city said to belong to Hindu god, Krishna.


Port Royal, Jamaica

Sunken City of Port Royal

Once referred to as the ‘Wickedest City on Earth’ (because of its rampant piracy, prostitution and rum consumption), part of Port Royal sank after an earthquake in 1692. The ruins scattered in the Kingston Harbor, and currently, the remains of the city encompasses 13 acres at depths of up to 40 feet. Archaeological investigations of the site began in 1981, led by the Nautical Archaeology Program of Texas A&M University. The investigations unearthed historical documents, organic artefacts and vast amount of architectural debris.

Port Royal Photograph

Yonaguni-Jima, Japan

Some 68 miles past the east coast of Taiwan, off the coast of Yonaguni Islands, a sunken ruin was discovered by a sport diver, in 1995. The ruins are estimated to be around 8,000 years old, however, it is still unclear which missing city they made up. The most spectacular discovery amongst the submerged ruins is a large pyramid structure, finely designed archways resembling the Inca civilization, staircases and hallways, and carved stones.

Baiae and Portus Julius, Italy

Baiae and Portus Julius Roman Cities

Baiae was an ancient Roman town overlooking the Bay of Naples, where rich Romans and emperors whiled away their time in their villas. It was also connected to the Roman Empire’s biggest naval base, Portus Julius. However, the town and port were built on a tract of volcanic land, the activity of which is said to have caused the structure to collapse into the ocean.

Lost Cities of Baiae and Portus Julius

Pavlopetri, Greece

Ancient City of Pavlopetri

The ruins of the ancient Mycenaean town of Pavlopetri date back to the Neolithic period (2,800 BC), and unveil a cultural hub of ancient Greece. The submerged city was discovered three to four metres off the coast of southern Laconia, and has many intact buildings, courtyards, streets, chamber tombs and graves. Pavlopetri was believed to be a thriving harbour town and sheds light on many mysteries of the Mycenaean civilization.

Greek City of Pavlopetri