Some of the most magnificent pieces of architecture in the world have been submerged under water by earthquakes, floods, and other geological events. Some of the sites still remain a mystery of how they ended up on the ocean floor. Nowadays, these cities, monuments, palaces, and even some unexplained structures can all can be found with a simple dive to the bottom of the bodies of water in which they remain, and many can even be viewed from above, making these unusual locations intriguing tourist destinations. If you have a taste for history, then stray away from museums that are flooded with tourists and navigate your way to the depths of the ocean to visit these spectacular underwater treasures.
1. Cleopatra’s Palace and Pharos Lighthouse, Alexandria (Egypt)
Alexandria’s Eastern Harbor is home to ruins believed to be remnants from Cleopatra’s Palace and the Pharos Lighthouse. The underwater artifacts include a small statue of a Pharaoh from the 4th or 5th century B.C., a colossal stone head of what is believed to be Cleopatra’s son, Caesarion, a sphinx statue, coins, sections of temples inscribed with hieroglyphics, and-of-course massive pieces of both Pharos Lighthouse and Cleopatra’s Palace.
2. World’s Wickedest City, Port Royal (Jamaica)
Back in the 17th century, Port Royal was a pirate’s haven with almost every other building being either a bar or a brothel serving seafaring men. In 1692, a massive earthquake and tsunami sank most of the city and killed 2,000 people. Today, the underwater site features hundreds of ships, paved streets, buildings, and the most famous artifact, a 1686 pocket watch that stopped ticking at exactly 11:43.
3. Submerged temples of Mahabalipuram (India)
The temple of Mahabalipuram is believed to be the last in a group of seven temples, six of which are said to be completely submerged. Divers have recovered walls, scattered square and rectangular blocks, and other artifacts. In 2004, a tsunami caused the ocean to recede in the area, and tourists caught a glimpse of one of the submerged temples. Archaeologists excavated the remains proving that another temple existed and it was in fact, bigger than the one left standing today.
4. 8000-year-old Yonaguni-Jima, Okinawa (Japan)
A monument that is 600 feet wide and 90 feet high was discovered off the coast of Japan by a dive tour operator in 1985. It has been dated around 10,000 BC, more than 5,000 years before the oldest pyramid in Egypt. Some believe the structure is manmade, while others claim there is evidence like unknown hieroglyphics and too many right angles carved into the structure for it to be made by any known civilization. If this is true and the structure is manmade, then it opens up the possibility that there was life before even the earliest recorded civilization.
5. Pavlopetri (Greece)
Pavlopetri is a completely submerged, yet intact city that dates back to 1,000 BC. It appears to be a sophisticated city with two-storey homes and a complex water system comparable to those of modern cities. Under water, you can see streets, buildings, garden spaces, courtyards, and many storage vessels used to transport goods to and from the port. There is an excavation project underway to ensure the city’s preservation before it is lost forever.
6. Dwarka Port (India)
One of the seven most ancient cities in India, Dwarka has been completely submerged by water six times since it was built. The Dwarka that stands today is the seventh Dwarka created. The ocean floor is covered with remnants of the past six Dwarkas from massive stones to smaller circular structures and hundreds of anchors providing evidence that the city must have been an enormous port at one time.
7. Parco Archaeologico Sommerso di Baia, Pozzuoli (Italy)
As a result of many earthquakes, much of the ancient port of Baia can be found underwater. Below sea level lie enormous brick piers, remnants of multiple luxurious villas, roman statues, and the famous Misenum lighthouse. The area is also dubbed a marine protected area in order to preserve as much as possible.
8. Truk Lagoon (Micronesia)
In 1944, a US Navy attack on the Japanese resulted in almost 50 vessels and 250 aircraft destroyed and sunk to the sea floor. The fleet is now known as the Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon and is the world’s best shipwreck destination for divers. Many of the ships are filled with valuable equipment and are famous diving sites today. Truk Lagoon is the ultimate underwater time capsule.
9. Sea of Galilee’s Underwater Stone “Monument” (Israel)
The Sea of Galilee is home to a massive stone structure that has archaeologists confused as to where it came from. The structure is made out of boulders and is said to weigh about 60,000 tons. The rocks are piled on top of each other like they are protecting an enormous burial site and it is definitely manmade. There isn’t much else known about the monument other than the fact that it must have been grueling to put together.
10. Lake Jindabyne, Snowy Mountains, New South Wales (Australia)
Jindabayne was entirely covered by water after a dam was created to develop a lake in place of the town in the 1960s. Many people were able to pack up and move their houses to the new Jindabyne location, but most of the town slipped under water. In fact, most of the town still remains intact under the water and when the water level falls tourists may be able to see the old town from the shore.