7 Sunken Cities Around The World

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Over the course of humans’ long history on Earth, natural forces have ensured that many once powerful cities have slipped into the sea — think earthquakes, volcanoes, and rising sea levels. With those factors and global warming contributing to the precariousness of existing ancient cities as we know them, we take a look back at some of the world’s most fascinating sunken cities.

Port Royal, Jamaica

Also known as the “wickedest city on Earth,” Port Royal was once one of the most important trading posts in the New World. In 1692, when an earthquake caused sand to liquefy, buildings, streets, and two thirds of the town slid into the sea in a matter of minutes, creating what is now considered one of the western hemisphere’s most significant underwater archaeological sites. Remarkably, the city remains as perfectly preserved underwater as it was on the day of the earthquake. Above land, Port Royal is now a small, coastal fishing village with very little of its former sparkle, sin, and grandeur.

Pavlopetri, Greece

Thought to be a model for Plato’s mythical sunken city, Atlantis, Pavlopetri was once a bustling port in the Bronze Age. Located on the southern coast of mainland Greece, the city slipped into the water as a result of gradual erosion, but was found in 1967 under less than 15 feet of water. Recently, underwater archaeologists have unearthed public buildings, residences, courtyards, streets, and graves that have allowed them to produce a comprehensive digital map of the civilization in its prime. The city, at 5,000 years old, is the oldest submerged archaeological town site.

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