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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

Wondrous Underwater Structures, Part 2 of 2: Lost Cities Uncovered



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Many intriguing stories remain hidden beneath the surface of our oceans, rivers, and lakes, including those of several underwater cities that were long forgotten or had been written off as mere legends.

Traces of history can be found in the depths of the ocean around the Gulf of Cambay, off the west coast of India. In 2001, researchers from the India Oceanic Institute, using sonar to study below the sea’s surface, identified huge stone buildings in an area five miles long and two miles wide. Divers investigated the ancient city and retrieved dozens of items, including wood and pottery shards, some as far back as 32,000 years.

Situated off the coast of Laconia in Southern Peloponnese, Greece, lies Pavlopetri, one of the oldest ancient underwater cities ever discovered. Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge, UK, visited the area and concluded that Pavlopetri was first inhabited in 2800 BC, although the buildings and streets appear to be from the Mycenaean Period, 1680 to 1180 BC. Researchers believe that the city became submerged after a series of three cataclysmic earthquakes occurred in the region around 1000 BC.

Lake Titicaca is located in the Andes Mountains between Bolivia and Peru. It is the largest fresh-water lake in South America and was the cradle of Peru’s ancient civilizations, including that of the Incas. Their presence can still be seen in the ruins they left behind, including mysterious underwater temples thought to be between 1,000 and 1,500 years old.

Also hidden 40 meters under water, in a lake between the Five Lion Mountains in China, is a maze of white temples, memorial arches, paved roads, and houses that belonged to Shi Cheng, or the “Lion City” built during the Tang Dynasty in 621 AD. The lost metropolis was rediscovered during an expedition in 2001. Ten years later, the magazine Chinese National Geography released a collection of photos and illustrations, including a map of the ancient city that showed the well-preserved impressive architecture.
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