Below The Depths: Underwater Cities You Can Visit

Under the surface of the water lies the mysteriously unknown. You never know exactly what may lie beneath the reflecting surface, until you explore it. Many of these cities were once bustling with people, today they lie dormant below the water’s surface. These are underwater cities you can visit.

Thonis-Heracleion (Egypt)

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Thonis-Heracleion is located at the mouth of the Nile River and was once Egypt’s most important trading ports. It was the beginning of the extensive waterway network that connected the Egyptian kingdom. Natural disasters led to the flooding of the city in 8th century BC and the city was not rediscovered until 2000. The city features ancient coins, statues shipwrecks and hieroglyph-inscribed slabs.

Port Royal (Jamaica)

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Port Royal was the original city of sin. Due to its prime location on the mouth of Kingston Harbor, it was once a city full of prostitution, alcohol and pirates. In 1692, an earthquake struck causing a tsunami. Port Royal was submerged along with several sunken pirate ships.

The Lion City (China)

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The Lion City is located in China’s Qiandao Lake. The city was flooded by the Chinese government in 1959, in order to make space for a hydroelectric dam. As the city is 1,000 year old and is full of ancient stonework lions, dragons and other animals. The city is accessible to visitors via several dive operators.

Rummu Underwater Prison (Estonia)

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The Rummu Prison was established in the 1940s and was built on the lip of a limestone quarry, in which the inmates were forced to work. When Estonia gained its independence from the Soviet Union, the prison was abandoned. The quarry was unattended to and eventually filled with water. Although the main part of the prison is fenced off, the surrounding area is accesible to visitors.

Baia (Italy)

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Much like Port Royal, Baia was a city for hedonists. The former resort city catered to the rich and powerful of ancient Italy. Important people such as Nero, Cicero, and Caesar were known to have visited the city as well as built permanent vacation villas there. The city was attacked by the Saracens in the 8th century and left abandoned. Over the years, the rising sea levels slowly swallowed the city. The city can be visited through glass-bottomed boats, snorkeling, or even scuba dives.