The myth of Atlantis lives again in the real world thanks to the many submerged cities to discover under the sea level. One of them is also located here in Italy.
The story of Atlantis is one of the most mysterious and fascinating among those that dot the mythology. A sunken city narrated for the first time by Plato, and that according to the philosopher would have been a naval power once located beyond the Pillars of Hercules, sunk "in a single day and night of misfortune" at the hands of Poseidon.
And if it is true that the myth has long been the subject of study by researchers, not everyone knows that in the world there are real "Atlantis", still kept in the depths of the sea. As human civilization spread across the continents we know today, trade and coastal settlements became more frequent, with many more port cities being built to access rare goods and riches. But the waterfront is not always a safe place to settle. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, sea level change or bad weather can indeed destroy in a single day what took hundreds of years to build, with water claiming buildings and lives.
Thus, thanks to scholars, today we can explore at least virtually some of these settlements that unfortunately have failed the test of time, remaining sunken and crystallized forever.
To find the first example of "real" Atlantis we don't have to travel far. Not surprisingly, it's located in Italy, in the underwater park of Baia, north of the Gulf of Naples. Baia was once a Roman spa town known for its debauchery. Sunk in the 16th century, much of its ancient history lies at the bottom of the sea due to underground pressure in the region. Today, notable among the ruins are the underwater remains of the Villa Prothyrus and the submerged nymphaeum adorned with statues of Emperor Claudius.
Lion City, China
This valley in China's Zhejiang Province was intentionally flooded in 1959 as part of the Xin'an River Dam project in order to generate hydroelectric power for the region, creating Qiandao Lake. Descending 40 meters, it is still possible to admire an ancient city submerged in time, believed to be as old as 1,400 years old, which once stood at the base of Mount Wu Shi.
Port Royal, Jamaica
Pirate paradise Port Royal was known as the wickedest city on Earth, before an earthquake and subsequent violent tsunami pushed two-thirds of the urban center beneath the waves on June 7, 1692. The result is a cluster of bricks crushed by the power of the sea, for some 2,000 buildings sank and more than 6,000 people died.
Atlit Yam, Israel
Sunken in 6300 BC, this Neolithic village lies more than 12 meters below the Mediterranean Sea, and is one of the oldest submerged settlements ever discovered. Remaining hidden for more than 8000 years, it was fortuitously discovered by marine archaeologist Ehud Galili in 1984.
Situated northwest of Alexandria on the Nile Delta, Thonis-Hercleion was a well-known trading port before being destroyed by an earthquake, which dragged it below sea level. A giant 6-ton statue of the Nile god Hapi is one of the most significant finds in the ruins.
The ruins of Pavlopetri were discovered in 1967, but date back about 5,000 years. The disappearance is probably due to an earthquake, which transformed the area into one of the most fascinating marine sites. The plan of the city was perfectly preserved 4 meters below the waves, with its streets, buildings and tombs eroded by time but still visible.