Famous Ancient Sunken Cities Around the World (PHOTOS)

  on March 23 2012 7:45 AM

Venice could sink by up to three inches by 2032 at a rate much faster than previously thought, according to a study. It would gradually join the list of several cities that once thrived well before being swallowed up by oceanic waves that are assumed to have resulted from massive earthquakes and tsunamis.

Ruins of numerous such cities, submerged beneath the sea, have been discovered across the world. Most of these finds were a result of the constant effort to find the fictional and lost city of Atlantis, which has many assumptions associated with its actual existence.

In March last year, researchers claimed that Atlantis may be found in the marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, southwest Spain, while few months later another research team likened an ancient 56-million-year-old landscape found submerged beneath the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Orkney-Shetland Islands, to Atlantis.

In 1999, British historian and cartographer Jim Allen claimed that the legendary lost city of Atlantis was located where present-day Quillacas is. Be it a myth or fact, the existence of Atlantis that possibly got swamped in a massive tsunami in 9600 BC remains to be based on various hypotheses.

Know more about some of the famous sunken cities around the world here.

Helike, Greece

Photo
Photo Credit: The Helike Project

The ancient Greek city was considered a legend until its discovery in 2001 in the Helike delta. Helike vanished on a winter night in 373 BC when a massive earthquake and tsunami swamped the city, according to the Helike Project's lead archaeologist Dora Katsonopoulou who along with her team began to search for the city in 1988.

The sunken city was found in a lagoon, which is now dried up. Some historians believe that it was the real story about Helike that may have inspired Greek philosopher Plato to mention about Atlantis for the first time in his dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, about 2600 years ago.

Port Royal, Jamaica

A
A resident of Port Royal watches the sky before the arrival of Hurricane Dean in Kingston, Jamacia, August 19, 2007. Photo Credit: REUTERS/Carlos Barria

This Jamaican hub for shipping commerce slipped into the sea when an earthquake in 1692 caused city's buildings to fall into the sea. Most of the city's buildings were built on top of water by filling the area with sand, and the earthquake liquefied the sand spit, causing sinking of Port Royal.

Pavlopetri, Greece

Diver
Diver over the remains of a domestic building at Pavlopetri. Photo Credit: The Pavlopetri Underwater Project/ University of Nottingham

Pavlopetri, the world's oldest sunken city, was found underwater on the southern coast of Greece in 1967. The city that thrived about 5,000 years ago sank because of unknown factors but, according to popular assumptions, a gradual erosion or tsunami may have possibly swamped Pavlopetri.

The present underwater ruins of the city reflect early Bronze Age urban setup including public buildings, streets, graves and residences. Pavlopetri is also believed to have inspired Plato for his Atlantis fable.

Yonaguni Monument, Japan

Yonaguni
Yonaguni Ruins. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Yonaguni Monument off the southern coast of Japan's Yonaguni features stone formations including columns, walls and stairs indicating towards a human settlement. Researchers are still baffled by these stone carvings as to determining if these were formed naturally or belonged to a thriving city or were modified by humans as per their needs.

Baiae, Italy

Baiae
Baiae ruins. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Baiae, an ancient city on the Bay of Naples, was a seaside resort frequented by rich and the powerful including Rome's Nero. However, the city was abandoned after malaria outbreak in the sixteenth century, which was gradually followed by volcanic activity that caused the ancient city to sink.

Join the Discussion