Travel


Discover Four Amazing Underwater Cities

Walter Raymond


With proper equipment and diving instructors on hand, dive deep into the ocean and witness long lost cities filled with historical relics, buildings and artifacts in "Shicheng," "Baiae" and "Pavlopetri."


If you are interested in diving and history, keep on reading below to learn more about some of the most amazing underwater cities in the world.

Shicheng: unparalleled architecture

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Visiting the city of Shicheng is immersing yourself in the spirit and architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties of ancient China. In its ancient and intact walls, built during the sixteenth century, are five large portals decorated with finely carved reliefs of Fu Lions and Dragons, traditional guardians of Imperial China.

To admire this well preserved prodigy it is necessary to be a seasoned diver. The city of Shicheng, also known as the “East Atlantic,” is 40 meters deep in Qiandao Lake, China’s Zhejiang Province, located about 400,000 meters south of Shanghai. Skilled dive operators guide travelers interested in discovering and admiring this impressive underwater city on a daily basis.

During the construction of the great dam of Xin’an, Qiandao Lake was created, which sheltered the ancient city under its waters. In 2001 an official expedition proved that the city remained unchanged thanks to the calm and cold depths of the lake that protect it from the natural erosion of the surface. In 2011, an expedition obtained and disseminated notable photographs generating the interest of high-end tourism.

Baiae, Las Vegas of the Roman Empire

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Located on the northwest coast of the Gulf of Naples, the city Baiae, also known as Bayas, was for centuries known as a luxury resort for Roman high society. Emperors Augustus and Julius Caesar both had properties there and was also the place of Adriano’s death, which would go on to be depicted in Hamlet.

However, with the passage of time, and after an epidemic of malaria, the privileged town was no longer important to Roman high class society. During the 16th century the city would become submerged in the waters off the Gulf of Naples due to intense volcanic activity, resulting in several large earthquakes.

Today it is preserved as an amazing underwater archaeological park that can be accessed through glass bottom boats or by snorkeling or diving.

The city of perdition, in the Caribbean

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Port Royal, Kingston, Jamaica

Founded by the Spanish in 1518, Port Royal, in the Bay of Kingston, Jamaica, quickly became one of the most important Spanish cities of the New World. However, “the most beautiful island that some eyes have ever seen,” according to Christopher Columbus, after being occupied by English pirates, became the “city of perdition.” Perhaps emulating the end of the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, in 1692, a great earthquake submerged the city into the waters of the Caribbean.

After more than 300 years since the natural disaster, the city offers remarkable architectural remains, which can be visited by snorkeling and diving with authorized guides.

Pavlopetri: diving in the oldest city

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In 1967, scientists from the University of Cambridge announced the discovery of the remains of a contemporary underwater city with the events narrated in Homer’s Odyssey: Parlovpetri. The city is approximately 5000 years old and contains archaeological remains from the Mycenaean period.

The city is located a short distance from the Greek coast of Laconia, which is a three hour flight from Athens. Guests can immerse themselves and explore the city’s streets, rooms, squares, monuments and find everyday objects scattered below the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean. This protected World Heritage Site by UNESCO is easily accesible via snorkeling. ■

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