In search of sunken cities
One of the finds of Heraklion - a sunken city near Alexandria
Since ancient times and biblical times, legends about lost civilizations have excited the imagination of many generations of people from different countries and peoples. Especially popular is the myth of Atlantis, which, starting with Plato, has been written not only by historians and geographers, but also by authors of science fiction novels, as well as mystics, who vainly tried to find the last Atlantes in the dungeons of the mysterious Shambhala.
But if we go back to the origins, we will have to admit that the myth of Atlantis has come down to our time in one version, and in a rather late one. This legend practically does not touch the rest of the mythological tradition of Greece. All information about Atlantis is presented in two dialogues of Plato: "Timaeus" and "Critias", and the last work remained unfinished. In these dialogues, on behalf of the famous politician and philosopher Cretius (Plato's uncle), it is told about the information that Solon allegedly received from the Egyptian priests. Namely: about the war of the Athenians with the inhabitants of the huge (larger than Asia and Libya, put together!) Atlantis, which lay behind the Strait of Gibraltar, about the victory of the Athenians and the death of the entire Athenian army on this island as a result of a catastrophe.
N. Roerich. Death of Atlantis
Contemporaries did not believe Plato amicably. Among the skeptics was even his student Aristotle, who, according to Strabo, passed the following verdict:
Even more famous is the catch phrase "Plato is my friend, but the truth is dearer", which also belongs to Aristotle and was said all on the same occasion.
Strabo and Pliny the Elder did not believe in the existence of Atlantis either. Since the dialogue "Critias" describes in detail the state structure of ancient Athens and Atlantis, and the moderation of the Athenians is opposed to the luxury of the Atlanteans, many believe that the myth of Atlantis was composed by Plato as a graphic illustration of his theoretical reasoning about the state. But some researchers argue that this myth did not arise from scratch. They believe that its source could be memories of the death of the Cretan (Minoan) civilization as a result of the Santorini earthquake. The most likely date for this disaster is now called 1628 BC (plus or minus 14 years). The reason was the eruption of the Santorini volcano, located on the island of Thira. Seismologists believe that the power of this eruption was approximately equal to the explosion of 200 thousand atomic bombs dropped by the Americans on Hiroshima. The Minoan city of Akrotiri, located on Tire, was then buried under a thick layer of volcanic material (tephra). In 1967, Akrotiri was discovered during excavations carried out by the Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos.
One of the consequences of this earthquake was the tsunami wave that hit Crete, the height of which, according to various estimates, ranged from 100 to 250 meters, and the speed - 200 kilometers per hour.
Some researchers believe that the eruption of the Santorini volcano was reflected in the biblical story about the "10 executions of the Egyptians" (the book "Exodus" of the Old Testament). This refers to two "executions": "fiery hail" and "Egyptian darkness".
The plague of hail and thunder, artist unknown ("The seventh execution"), 1775
But back to the island of Crete, the area of which as a result of this catastrophe, according to some estimates, could have decreased three times. But trouble does not come alone, and the Achaeans, previously dependent on them, finished off the Minoans. They invaded Crete, destroying Knossos and other cities. The Great Maritime Power disintegrated, Cretan culture declined, arts and crafts became more primitive. However, such a "minor" and local catastrophe clearly does not suit the modern "fans" of Atlantis, who do not abandon their attempts to find the remains of an ancient civilization at the address left by Plato - in the Atlantic Ocean in the vast territory between Europe and North America. Some studies seem to give some reason for optimism. For example, in 1971, a Soviet scientific expedition aboard the Akademik Kurchatov discovered that the seabed around Iceland was not of marine origin. Scientists have come to the conclusion that the island of Iceland is the highest part of the ancient continent, which previously occupied the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, which remained above the water.
And between the UK and the continent is Doggerland - a piece of land that previously connected this island with Europe. It went under the water completely in time immemorial - about 8500 years ago.
Modern historians and engineers who have studied the technical characteristics and driving characteristics of ancient Greek ships still agree not with Plato, but with Aristotle.
It is curious that behind the search for Atlantis, very interesting finds of archaeologists remain in the shadows, who at the bottom of the seas and oceans in different parts of the world found the ruins of completely real cities.
So, in the area of modern Sukhumi, according to ancient sources, the sunken ancient city of Dioscuria was once located, the remains of which have not yet been found. But in the Sukhum Bay, the ruins of the later city of Sebastopolis were discovered, which, according to the assumption of archaeologists, existed on the site of Dioscuria.
In 1967, an expedition led by N. Flemming at the bottom between the coast of Laconia and a small island discovered the ruins of an ancient Greek city. From this island, the found city got its name - Pavlopetri.
It is curious that the Greek geologist and president of the Athenian Academy Fokion Negri spoke about the possibility of such a "find" back in 1904.
In 1968, pilot Robert Bruce noticed the outline of a huge structure in the waters of the Bahamas. French and American archaeologists, led by Valentine, discovered a structure that was overgrown with algae at a depth of just a few meters, which they believed to be like a temple. Aerial photography showed the presence of other megalithic objects at a depth of about 30 meters.
Another expedition three years later at the island of North Bimini discovered the remains of the harbor embankment, which is often called the "Bimini underwater road".
It was found that once the foundation of these ancient structures towered 8-10 meters above the water.
"Bimini Underwater Road"
In 1986, diving instructor Kihachiro Aratake off Yonaguni Island (the westernmost territory of Japan, about 125 km from Taiwan) discovered a strange rock, and a complex of megalithic structures on the seabed. His message then aroused no interest: it was decided that these objects were of natural origin. Only in 1997 was it suggested that these megaliths were artificial. By 2001, a wall of basalt slabs and many objects of regular geometric shape were discovered. And one of the megaliths resembled a human head (7 meters in size).
Megaliths of Yonaguni:
In 2001, the sunken city was discovered near the western coast of Cuba - in the Yucatan Strait at a depth of 650 meters.
An underwater city off Cuba, a computer model based on echolocation data
This discovery confirmed the hypothesis that Cuba was once part of Latin America, connected to the continent in the Yucatan Peninsula.
In January 2002, the remains of a sunken city were also found at a depth of 36 meters in the Bay of Cambay off the western coast of India. Radiocarbon analysis of the objects found showed that the city is 9500 years old.
Acoustic image of the bottom of the Gulf of Cambay
A bead raised from the bottom of the Bay of Cambay
In 2000, in the Gulf of Aboukir, experts from the European Institute of Underwater Archeology under the leadership of F. Goddio found a sunken city, which researchers identify with Heraklion, which served as the "sea gate" of Egypt. It is located 25 km east of Alexandria and 6,5 km from the coastline at a depth of 46 meters. You saw one of the finds of Heraklion in the photo at the beginning of the article.
In the center of this city, the temple of Hercules, described by Herodotus, was found. Scientists believe that the reason for the sinking of this city to the bottom is a series of earthquakes that lasted for 50 years, which led to the death of about 50 city-states of the Bronze Age. It was then that the sea level rose by 7,5 meters, which led to the flooding of the coastal cities of Egypt.
In 2007, during excavations at the bottom of the port of Alexandria (Egypt), another large city was discovered that existed at least 7 centuries before the city was founded by Alexander the Great. Many statues were raised from the bottom.
Statue of a priest at the bottom of the bay of Alexandria
In August 2007, some megaliths were discovered at Cape Tarkhankut in the Crimea. It has not yet been possible to prove their artificial origin, but an underwater "alley of leaders" was created here, the first exhibit of which appeared at the bottom in 1992. The founder of this kind of museum was the instructor of the Donetsk club "Neptune" V. Borusensky. Nowadays you can see sculptures of politicians and writers. There are also sculptural images of a cart, a sailor with a PPSh submachine gun, a Donetsk miner, and copies of antique statues:
In 2007, a circle of stones was discovered at the bottom of Lake Michigan, in the center of which was a large spherical object. On one of the stones there was a drawing of an animal, presumably a mastodon.
Even earlier, strange megalithic structures were discovered at the bottom of the American Rock Lake (Wisconsin). The first "pyramid" was discovered by N. Heyer in 1836. In total, 13 have been found now.
Rock Lake Pyramid
But this pyramid was discovered in 2001 at the bottom of the Chinese lake Fuxian:
Fuxian Lake Pyramid
Its height is 19 meters, width at the base is 90 meters. During further research, 30 more objects of artificial origin were found - presumably houses, columns, road sections. Scuba divers managed to find in this place an earthen jug from the times of the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220). However, experts believe that the underwater structures themselves are of more ancient age.
Relatively recently, a real underwater city has appeared in China. This is the ancient Shichen (founded around 670), which after the construction of a hydroelectric power station in the 1950s. ended up at the bottom of the man-made lake Qiandaohu. Together with him, 30 more small towns and almost 400 villages were at the bottom, the oldest of which was about 1800 years old. Since the beginning of the XNUMXst century, Shichen has gained immense popularity among divers and has become one of the most unusual sights of modern China.
During the construction of hydroelectric power plants, some Russian cities also suffered, although not so large. Berdsk (Novosibirsk region), Kalyazin, Vesyegonsk, Uglich and Myshkin (Tver region) lost part of their territories. But Mologa went under water completely.
When the Sheksna reservoir was filled, the Vologda village of Krokhino was also under water.
In 1984, the flooded Neolithic village of Atlit Yam was discovered in Israel. Of particular interest is the mysterious circle of stones around a hole.
Also in Israel in 2003, at the bottom of Lake Kinneret, a cone with a diameter of about 70 meters, made of basalt slabs, was discovered.
Kineret sea structure
Experts do not doubt its artificial origin, but the purpose of this structure remains a mystery.
Sometimes cities sink to the seabed literally before the eyes of astonished contemporaries. So, in June 1692, an event took place on the island of Jamaica, which received the name "Punishment of the Lord": as a result of a powerful earthquake in the Caribbean Sea, a gigantic tsunami wave almost completely destroyed the pirate city of Port Royal, almost 2000 people died, all those who were in the port were destroyed ships. Two thirds of the city sank into the sea. After 10 years, the newly rebuilt city was destroyed by fire, then several hurricanes swept through, and the "city of sin" ceased to exist, covered by a thick layer of silt and sand.
But on the territory of South America, scientists have found "Atlantis vice versa": a few kilometers from the alpine Lake Titicaca, located on the border of Peru and Bolivia at an altitude of 3812 meters, there are ancient ruins, which are port structures and bear traces of a long-non-existent sea surf. Locals talk about the city of Wanacu that went under the water, which Jacques Yves Cousteau tried to look for in 1968. These legends were confirmed in 2000, when the ruins of an ancient temple of the pre-Incan civilization, Tianuko, were discovered 250 meters from the coast.
Lake Titicaca is unique in that it is salty and is home to marine animals. Scientists believe that it "ascended" to an altitude of almost 4000 m as a result of the catastrophic movement of the mountain platform. This assumption is confirmed by the legends of the Maya Indians, which tells about the time when there were no mountains in America.
In the next article, we will talk about the abandoned cities found in different parts of the world on land.
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