10 Lost Underwater Cities of Ancient World

“Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty and ends with chaos”, Will Durant has rightly said. There is an air of mystique surrounding our past ages which keeps mankind up on their toes even to this day to gain more insight into them. Many civilizations have come and gone, but only few are forever etched in the minds of people. The shrouded mysteries enveloping our famous civilizations are now being unraveled here and there every now and then. A lot of research and resources have been pressed into service with some people having dedicated themselves for the rest if the world to see the marvels our ancestors had to offer for us.

Over the course of time, many cities of such civilizations have been discovered which were believed to be just myths ready to be explored and to gain more insight into our cultures and rich heritage that the past has to offer. Here is the list of the 10 Lost Underwater Cities of Ancient World.


Keep diving and digging in deeper, who knows what you may stumble upon, the all-time favorite mythical city of Atlantis maybe!

10.Port Royal, Jamaica

The underwater pirate city, known back then as the “wickedest city on Earth” still conjures up images of marauding pirates, looting, murders, prostitution and smuggling. Situated at a strategic naval position, it served well as a port for pirates and merchants from various parts of the world, becoming a well-established harbor in the Caribbean. All this lasted for a measly 37 years before an earthquake and tsunami struck the place and two-thirds of the city got submerged into the sea. The remnants under the sea are still intact due to the oxygen depleted surroundings and as the whole city slid into the waters when the calamity struck.

Indeed, a rough sailing, Captain!

Port Royal

9. Dwarka, India

A team conducting tests for water pollution accidentally unearthed of what seems to date back earlier than the Harappan civilization, thus making the researchers take keen interest in accumulating more knowledge into this underwater city. The famous underwater temple city of Dwarka, the city of Lord Krishna, one of the main deities of Hinduism which has been a matter of great dispute for centuries had been stumbled upon!

Beads, pieces of pottery, idols along with human bones and teeth have been excavated and after testing, they were found to be nearly 9500 years old hence making archaeologists rethink the entire timeline of history!



8.Yonaguni pyramids, Japan

In the late 1980’s a few local divers in search of the hammerhead sharks came across an unusual terrace like structures deep under the sea. Upon later inspections and lengthy deliberations, the research was concluded stating that the structures were large monolith stone which was due to sandstone and mud-stone being deposited 20 million years ago, on which were man made designs and carvings. The pyramids of Yonaguni have terraces and sharp corners, straight and also next to it lies a large piece of rock on which is a carving of a half-finished face. Seems to me like someone was slacking on their work day before the waves decided to hide them for ages! Pyramids of Egypt, you have competition from the depths of the sea at Yonaguni!



7. Lion City Shicheng, China

The Lion city was very much visible till the year 1959 when the Chinese Authorities created a man-made lake called Qiandao to generate hydroelectricity.

The Atlantis of China immediately got flooded and can be found at 85-130 feet below this lake. Divers who inspected the place state that the roads, pavements and even the staircases made of wood are completely intact. The temples, arches, houses, everything!!

What a shame to destroy something of such beauty and historical value for man’s greed.


A Chinese city, forgotten after it was flooded when the government built a dam that turned the valley it was in into a lake, has resurfaced as an underwater adventure park for tourists. The ancient city of Shi Cheng was also known as the Lion City because it was located in the province of Zhejiang, where it was surrounded by the five Lion Mountains. Founded over 1,300 years ago, it vanished from view 53 years ago when the Chinese government decided they needed a new hydroelectric power station. A dam was built to create a man-made lake, and as the water rose, the city was left at the bottom of this new found body of water. Depending on where on the lake bottom it is, the city is between 85 and 131 feet underwater. And there it remained forgotten until Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism, introduced the idea of using Shi Cheng as a destination for diving clubs. For the first try it was a voyage of discovery, and Qui said: "We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick to prove it." It was later discovered that the entire town was intact, including wooden beams and stairs. Now the city had attracted interest from archaeologists and a film crew has been on site to record the preservation of the lost ruins.

6. Cleopatra’s Palace, Alexandria, Egypt

About 1400 years ago in Egypt there was a terrible earthquake and a huge tsunami that hit the coast of the great city of Alexandria in the Mediterranean Sea. It sank the island of Antirhodos, taking down queen Cleopatra’s palace and Alexandria’s old lighthouse, once a wonder of the ancient world.

Some columns and pillars have been chanced upon which are seen depicted in paintings representing the ceremonial arches of the palace. Along with them two statues of the sphinxes and a high priest of the populist queen of the bygone ages are visible. Quite a majestic, breath-taking sight, well it has to be, it belongs to Cleopatra!



5. Pavlopetri, Greece

Famed to be one of the oldest Lost Underwater Cities on Earth, Pavlopetri is found off the coast of southern Laconia in the Mediterranean Sea. It was believed to be submerged around 2000 BC by one of the three tsunamis that struck the place and the area seems to have never recuperated ever since then. Over the course of time, many of the objects and structures have eroded, though the layout wall of the area is still very much in place. A major threat looms over the place nowadays largely from the pirates and souvenir hunters.



4. Heracleion or Thonis, Egypt

“It was only a legend. Appearing in a few rare inscriptions and ancient texts, the city of Thonis-Heracleion was not something anyone expected to find, and no one was looking for it”.

It was quite an exhilarating revelation for the French excavators when a huge face made its way to the top when they least expected it. What followed later on was nothing less than treasure hunt gone well with as many as 64 ships, 700 anchors and a treasure trove of gold coins and statues as tall as 16 feet and a massive temple of Amun-Gereb. The ruins and artifacts made from granite and diorite date back to around 2300 years in time. The ancient city is built around the temple, with roads and canals criss-crossing the whole place with a network of connecting patterns for the buildings and houses. It’s the Venice of Egypt!

Need suggestions for the city plan? there you go!



3. Pre-Incan Ruins of Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

The Lake Titicaca situated between Peru and Bolivia is the largest freshwater lake in South America and is held sacred to the Inca since times immemorial. In the year 2000, a team excavating sites near the lake for remains of the Incan Civilization chanced upon this huge temple complex which predates the Incan cultures and is a good 1000-1500 years old. The temple size is estimated to be almost twice the size of a football pitch!


2. Llys Helig, Wales

Believed to be the palace of the then king, Helig Ap Glanawg, the palace more so looks like rock formations when there are low tides in the region. The story of the “drowned kingdom” was quite contradictory for a long time until the last expedition conducted put all rumors to rest by concluding that the building had walls of lengths exceeding hundreds of yards covered in moss. The area where the palace once stood is now inundated by sea.

llys helig

1. Phanagoria, Russia

The ancient city of Phanagoria was deeply hidden in the depths of the mighty ocean until the 18th century where marble statue bases dedicated to Aphrodite were discovered. The largest sanctuary of Aphrodite statues was excavated in this Pontic region which also houses a necropolis with thousands of burials complete with cypress or marble carvings. Many excavations have taken place since then and lots of treasures in the form of gold and silver articles and artifacts have been unearthed. In the recent times, the presence of a synagogue among many others has come to light.

The Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin also has taken part in the scuba diving expedition of Phanagoria.


Related posts: