The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities

Underwater cities are spookily beautiful. From fairy tales of mermaid villages to speculation about the lost city of Atlantis, there’s just something intriguing about the idea of lost civilizations hiding beneath the sea. For centuries, our imaginations have been captured by the possibilities of sunken treasures and forgotten cities along the ocean floor. That’s why we decided to put together a collection of some of the coolest photos ever taken of underwater cities and ruins.

Not only will you see fascinating photos of sunken cities, you’ll get a peek at some of the most gorgeous, well-preserved artifacts that rest beneath the waves. Thanks to modern technology, these days even us landlubbers are able to get a peak at some of the world’s most astounding underwater artifacts and we never have to wear scuba gear to see them. So if you’ve ever wondered about exploring Cleopatra’s Sunken Palace or seeing Port Royal long after it was hang-out for pirates between treasure raids, come on in, the water is just fine.

This list of photos shows the most astonishing cities and locations that were hidden for centuries, a few of which are believed to contain evidence of some of the most ancient civilizations on Earth. So explore once-thriving ancient cities that ended up in the briny deep with this collection of gorgeous statues, elaborate temples, and underwater cities. Vote up your favorite pictures of sunken cities swept beneath the surface.

1.The Ruins of Pavloperti, Greece Reveal a Complex Ancient Civilization

The Ruins of Pavloperti, Greec... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities

The city, which is believed by archaeologists to be around 5,000 years old, is still remarkably well preserved and contains around nine acres of ancient houses, gardens, temples, and even evidence of an ancient yet complex plumbing system.

2. Dwarka May Have Been Among the World’s First Known Civilizations

Dwarka May Have Been Among the... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Scientific study of the ruins of Darkwa suggest it may be among the most ancient site discoveries of our time. Carbon dating wood dredged from the site pegs the city at around 9,000 years old, suggesting it may predate any previously known civilization.

3. Lion City Recaptures China’s Imagination in 2011

Lion City Recaptures China'... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Interest in the underwater city of Shi Cheng was once again piqued in 2001 when Chinese National Geographypublished an article full of pictures and hypothetical illustrations of what the city might have looked like.

4. Lion City’s Underwater Network of Well-Preserved Art

Lion City's Underwater Net... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
The astonishingly well-preserved streets of Lion City feature over 250 ornately carved archways including stunning depictions of dragons, phoenixes, lions, and other cultural icons.

5. Diver Examines a Sphinx Statuette in Alexandria

Diver Examines a Sphinx Statue is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Amid the treasures recovered from ancient Alexandria were this granite sphinx whose face is believed to represent that of Ptolemy Xll, father of famous Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII.

6. Dolphins Visit the Ancient Indian City of Dwarka

Dolphins Visit the Ancient Ind is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
For centuries, the ancient Indian city of Dwarka was believed to be merely a mythic city of built by the Hindu god Krishna, a fabled place of 70,000 lavish palaces. Dwarka turned out to be real, however: divers discovered ruins of the city hidden deep beneath the Arabian Sea in 2000.

7. The Egyptian Stele That Led to the Lost Site of Thonis-Heracleion

The Egyptian Stele That Led to is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
This amazingly intact Egyptian monument commissioned by the Pharaoh Nectanebo I (378-362 BC) helped explorers identify the ancient city of Thonis-Heracleion in 2000. The city enjoyed a golden age as the only port of entry for Greek ships entering Egypt before the founding of the city of Alexandria in 331 B.C. It’s believed to have sunk into the briny deep sometime in the 8th century.

8. The Famous Pirate Cove of Port Royal Lives On Beneath the Waves

The Famous Pirate Cove of Port is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Once visited by infamous pirates such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack, Port Royal was once a favorite hang-out and base for pirates between treasure raids on ships sailing the Spanish main. An 1692 earthquake spelled disaster for the city, causing its foundations to give way. Much of the city is preserved beneath Kingston Harbor to this day.

9. Lion City: The Atlantis of the East

Lion City: The Atlantis of the is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Unlike most of the sunken cities of the world, China’s Shi Cheng or “Lion City” fell victim to flooding at the hands of mankind rather than a natural disaster. The city, parts of which were built as far back as the 1300s, was flooded in 1959 as part of the construction of Xin’an Dam and an adjoining plant. It was then virtually forgotten until divers begin to “rediscover” it in 2001.

10. Could Atlantis Be Hiding off the Coast of Cuba?

Could Atlantis Be Hiding off t is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
In 2001, a minor media storm broke out when sonar equipment detected what could be a giant underwater city off the coast of Cuba. Though some have speculated that this sunken city could be the remains of the fabled Atlantis, plenty of others have dismissed this as fanciful thinking at best.

11. The Sunken Playground of Emperors

The Sunken Playground of Emper is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
As irony would have it, the underwater Italian city of Baiae was once famous for its baths and hot springs. The city was so renowned as a recreational retreat for the upper class that both Julius Caesar and the unsavory Emperor Nero both owned summer homes there.

12. The Mystery of Japan’s Yonaguni Monument

The Mystery of Japan's Yon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Since its discovery off the coast of Japan in 1986, the Pyramid of Yonaguni has drawn various theories. Some scientists claim that despite its staircases and eerie similarities to South American temples of the same style, the whole thing is just one big happy coincidence of a rock formation. Others, for obvious reasons, claim that its blatantly an ancient ruin with fascinating implications.

13. Statue of a Sunken Egyptian God in the Lost City of Canopus

Statue of a Sunken Egyptian Go is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
The lost city of Canopus, first rediscovered in 1933, was first mentioned in literature as early as the 6th century BC. In ancient times it was known as a miraculous place of healing as well as for its temples to the deities Osiris and Serapis.
14. Atlit-Yam, Israel’s Ancient Sunken City
Atlit-Yam, Israel's Ancien is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
The ancient site of Atlit-Yam in Israel is estimated to be anywhere from 7,500-8,000 years old and may have met its watery end due to a tsunami, one possibly caused by a volcanic eruption.

15. Ancient Italy’s Underwater Malibu

Ancient Italy's Underwater is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Once a sort of Malibu or Riviera of the ancient world, the Italian city of Baiae was referred to by Seneca as a “resort of vice,” and called a “favorable place for love-making” by Ovid. Unfortunately, the city sank in the 16th century. Scientists believe that was when massive amounts of underwater lava found a means of escape, causing such a drastic drop in the city’s elevation that it was eventually submerged.

16. Roaming the Remains of a 5,000-Year-Old City Near Pavlopetri, Greece

Roaming the Remains of a 5,000 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could visit a Greek city that was so old, it was around during the time period of the Iliad? Well, you actually can. In this case, the only catch is that it’s currently submerged beneath about four meters of water. 

17. One of the Many Rediscovered Relics of Ancient Alexandria

One of the Many Rediscovered R is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria was, by all accounts, among the most stunning cities in the ancient world. The city was famous for multiple sites, including the famous Pharos Lighthouse, which was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as well as the palace of Cleopatra herself. 

18. What Many Believe Is the Legendary Shore Temple of India

What Many Believe Is the Legen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
For centuries, Indian legend has told tales of seven ancient temples that were so stunning, they made the gods jealous, so jealous that they were said to have caused a flood that sent all but one, known as the Shore Temple, to the bottom of the sea. Eventually, the legendary Shore Temple, joined its fellow temples beneath the waves.  
It wasn’t until after the Tsunami of December 2004 that the what many believe to be the remains of the ancient structure were once again exposed near Mahabalipuram, India.

19. The Sunken City Wall of Olous, Crete

The Sunken City Wall of Olous, is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
Once an ancient Greek city of 40,000 people, it was the weak shoreline of the city of Olous in Crete that would eventually be its downfall, as it flooded and went under all too easily. Though its only remnants now lie beneath the surface, the wall of the city can still be seen beneath the waves during low tides.

20. A Sphinx Looks on as a Priest Carries an Osiris-Jar

A Sphinx Looks on as a Priest  is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
It was a massive earthquake that was ultimately responsible for sweeping outlying parts of Alexandria beneath the waves around 1,200 year ago. For centuries after, many of its lavish buildings, palaces, and statues laid untouched until an excavation team lead by Franck Goddio in 1992 began to re-discover them.

21. The Underwater Springs of Atlit-Yam

The Underwater Springs of Atli is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
At the center of Israel’s underwater site of Atlit-Yam, explorers have discovered a series of ancient stone circles, some of which also served as water wells. Archeologists believe this may indicate that parts of the site which appear to be ceremonial were dedicated to water spirits.

22. One of the Many Underwater Treasures of Baiae

One of the Many Underwater Tre is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
A visit to the underwater Italian city of Baiae still revels a plethora of gorgeous statues, ancient Roman roads, and even the remains of villas that once belonged to the now-forgotten rich and famous. The city’s fame as an upper-crust retreat meant lots of wealthy people, which now means lots of incredible artifacts underwater. 

23.  Baiae’s Silver Lining for Scuba Divers

Baiae's Silver Lining for  is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Amazing Photos of Underwater Cities
The good news about Baia, Italy, is that it’s one of few sunken cities that didn’t sink too deep. It’s near enough to the surface that tourists can still view the ruins via diving, snorkeling, or even class bottom canoe trip.

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