Cities of the Deep


Prerna Gopinath, Journalist/Editor

Atlantis the Sunken City written about by Plato…does it actually exist? Who knows? Atlantis is a city of fantasy which many wish were real, sadly it isn’t but there are some real underwater cities which you can actually visit. Port Royal, the swashbuckling city of the New World, Baia the luxurious city for the elite, Dwarka the heavenly city fabled to be made by Lord Krishna himself! All around the world there are many submerged cities that all have a very intriguing history.


Port Royal, Jamaica 

Port Royal, Jamaica was a former haven for pirates and was nicknamed the ¨Wickedest city on earth¨. It has a very enthralling history and was the most important trading site in the New World. Soon though, on June 7, 1692 at its height, Port Royal was devastated by an earthquake which sunk ⅔ of the city. Following that was a series of hurricanes and fires and the town never was restored to its former glory. Port Royal is considered a ¨catastrophic site¨, a place hit by natural holocausts and preserved in situ or exactly as it was when it got destroyed. Port Royal was just 37 years into its life when it sank into the ocean being preserved exactly as it was after the earthquake.

Dwarka, India  

Dwarka, India was an ancient city known in Hindu culture to be the city of Lord Krishna. It is told that when Lord Krishna went back to the heavens the city of Dwarka was submerged in the big flood 9,000 years ago. It was only in the 1930’s that people started searching for the submerged part of Dwarka and in 1963 the first archaeological excavation took place in which the underwater city was discovered 36 meters underwater in the Gulf of Cambay. During this first excavation many ancient artifacts were found. It is believed that Dwarka is over 9,500 years old, making it older than the Sumerian, Egyptian, and Chinese civilizations. 


Atlit Yam, Israel 

Atlit Yam, Israel lies 10 meters underneath the water off the coast of Atlit. Atlit Yam is the only site in the world to be uncovered exactly as it was before the tsunami hit. It also has undisturbed burials where many were buried in group graves. Atlit Yam had many water tables and wells that are considered very advanced for its time. It was a thriving village with a lot of maritime activity. It is believed that Atlit Yam was abandoned because of a tsunami hitting the area as a result of a volcanic eruption. The most interesting thing found in Atlit Yam was the skeleton of a child and their mother thought to be showing what is probably the earliest case of tuberculosis. 

Heracleion, Egypt 

  Thonis-Heracleion was a grand and glorious city before the foundation of Alexandria. It was a port of entry into Egypt for all ships coming from Greece. Heracleion was also a city of religious importance as it contained the temple of Amun. Around the 8th century B.C.E the city went through a variety of natural disasters and eventually sank in the 8th century C.E. The city was found 6.5 kilometers off the coastline in Aboukir Bay at approximately 10 meters deep. While being excavated it was discovered that the city Heracleion that was mentioned in Greek texts was actually the same as Thonis for the Egyptians. 

Baia, Italy

 Baia, Italy was a city in ancient Rome on the shore of the Gulf of Naples. It once was a city for the rich and elite who built many luxurious villas in the area. Baia was located over natural volcanic vents and was famous for its medicinal hot springs. Unfortunatly in the 8th century C.E Baia was attacked by the Muslim Army and by the 1500’s the formerly elite city was abandoned. Over time the water levels rose, eventually flooding the city  due to the volcanic vents that once were loved by everyone. Baia is one of the few underwater cities that can be visited today. The city of Baia was amazingly preserved and can be seen through glass bottom boats, snorkeling, or scuba diving, all of which allow people to see and experience wonders.

 Underwater cities exist all around the world and each possess a fascinating history. Atlantis is not the only city underwater there are many in real life that are much much better.



Picture Sources: