Top 10 Ancient Sunken Cities Discovered in the Deep Sea

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Top 10 Ancient Sunken Cities Discovered in the Deep Sea

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Matt Klem
These historical sites are incredible! For this list, we'll be looking at ancient buildings, sculptures, and other structures that made up ancient cities which have now been discovered underwater. Our countdown includes Phanagoria, Ancient City Of Baiae, Port Royal, and more!
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Top 10 Discovered Underwater Cities


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Discovered underwater Cities.

For this list, we’ll be looking at ancient buildings, sculptures, and other structures that made up ancient cities which have now been discovered underwater. We won’t include cities that were well known in modern times before being flooded.

Did you know about any of these underwater cities? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Phanagoria

Greece
Founded in 543 BC, Phanagoria was a significant colony of ancient Greece. Located in the Taman peninsula, it was once the capital of Old Great Bulgaria. As a massive market and trading post, it served much of the traffic between the Black and Caspian Seas. After a series of conflicts and invasions, the city was left in ruins and Matrega was built on top of it. However, it was then rediscovered in the 18th century, and an archaeological dig began in 1822. Today, about a third of the ancient city can be found underwater and research about the area is ongoing.

#9: Tiquina

South America
Lake Titicaca is located in South America, between Bolivia and Peru. Not only is it the largest of its kind in the region, it’s also home to an ancient civilization located beneath the waters of the lake. Discovered in 2008, thousands of items including gold and ceramics have been discovered. But only a handful have been retrieved to the surface. According to research, the ancient artifacts belonged to the pre-Inca Tiwanaku civilizations which were believed to be quite dominant at one time. The Bolivian government plans to build an underwater museum at one of the more significant locations, known as Santiago de Ojjelaya.

#8: Olous

Greece
Apparently Greece was a popular place for ancient sunken civilizations. The second Greek city on our list, Olous, was a city of ancient Crete. At its peak, Olous was said to be the home to 40,000 people. There are contradictory reports of how exactly the city fell. From volcanic eruptions, to the natural sinking of the landscape, the details still continue to be somewhat a mystery. Today, the remains of this city can be found near Elounda, Crete, Greece. Visitors can actually visit the city by swimming out into Elounda Bay. Excavation and research of the ruins are ongoing to this day.

#7: Pavlopetri

Greece
Rounding off our hat trick of Greek sunken cities, we find ourselves as Pavlopetri. Far older than the others previously mentioned, these ancient ruins are estimated to be about 5,000 years old. It’s also notable because of how much of it has been preserved. With entire structures, tombs and more found intact, it’s one of the oldest snapshots of a city ever discovered underwater. Multiple earthquakes and ever rising sea levels are believed to have been the cause of this town’s demise. Originally discovered in 1967, the ruins have become a UNESCO site where further research continues.

#6: Atlit Yam

Israel
About an hour north of Tel Aviv, Israel is a small town called Atlit. It’s just off the shores where you can find the remains of Atlit Yam: an almost 9000 year old sunken Neolithic village. Although shipwrecks and other settlements had been discovered near here, it was in 1984 when Ehud Galili uncovered more than just an old boat. Houses and a well were found, but the most notable discovery was that of a stone circle made of seven 1300lb large prehistoric stones. The layout of these megaliths suggest they may have been part of some type of water ritual. A full size human skeleton was even found that gave researchers an in depth look at life during that era.

#5: Ancient City Of Baiae

Italy
It’s been described as the “Las Vegas of the Roman Empire” The wealthy came here to engage in whatever prohibited activity they chose. Essentially a resort town, it could be found about 19 miles from Naples, Italy. However, over time, the city disappeared into the water due to the unique properties of the Earth’s surface in the area. It was then discovered in the 1940s, which eventually led to an official underwater survey in the 1960s. The unique underwater pressure in the region has literally raised, and lowered Baiae again and again, much like a song stuck on repeat. The area is now a marine protected area as more research continues.

#4: Dwarka

India
In the Indian book of Mahabharata, a story is told of how Krishna moved the capital from Mathura to Dwarka to escape countless battles with Jarasandh. Like many religious texts, some perceived the tales written within the Mahabharata to be less than factual. However, scientists discovered underwater archaeological remains in the Gulf of Cambay. This incredible find appeared to give credence towards the tales written in the religious text. Walls, bones, pottery and other items were recovered and surprised scientists when they learned the ruins were 9,000 years old. All previous discoveries within the region had dated back 4,000 years signifying that the culture in that region was far older than originally suspected.

#3: Port Royal

Jamaica
On June 7th, 1692, a region’s largest city was destroyed by an earthquake, and an accompanying tsunami. Prior to that, it was a haven for real pirates in the Caribbean. A great-grandfather to sin city, this was a place that was all about excess.The real pirates of the age spent much of their loot engaging in whatever they chose. Yet a force of nature wiped that slate clean, and gave us an incredible sunken pirate city that remains just a few metres underwater. Between the city and several hundred sunken ships in the area, it’s a window into a world of debauchery from centuries ago.

#2: Yonaguni Monument

Japan
Manmade, or naturally occurring? This is a debate that has been going on since the Yonaguni Monument was first discovered in the mid 1980s. At 50 metres long, by 20 metres wide, it certainly commands attention by its size. Referred to as the “Japanese Atlantis”, some believe it to be a relic of an ancient Japanese continent known as “Mu”. Yet as astounding as it is, there’s a debate on whether or not the formation may be natural. Citing examples such as the “Giant’s Causeway” in Ireland, some scientists say the formation is completely natural and not made by any ancient human being. Believer or not, this underwater relic continues to be researched in hopes of finding a definitive answer.

#1: The City Of Thonis

Egypt
Cleopatra III and Paris & Helen of Troy all may have seen this ancient city. It was one that was known by two names: Heracleion in Greece and Thonis in Egypt. Founded somewhere between the 12th and 8th century BC, it was a port city located near Alexandria, Egypt. Described as the Venice of Egypt, Thonis was the country’s central port for international trade. This made it an important part of Egyptian culture at the time. Eventually, the hard clay foundation of the city quickly liquified, causing everything to sink into the ocean. But what makes this our #1 is how well preserved the monuments, statues, and other ruins are. It’s an instantaneous trip back to an era of pharaohs and Gods once thought long lost.
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