Asia’s ancient underwater cities

Asia is home to three incredible underwater cities. Source: Jakob Owens/Unsplash

THE lost City of Atlantis is a story many people know, one that is full of magic and moral teachings, but ultimately it is a myth. Asia, however, is home to three of the world’s most fascinating underwater cities, ones that really do exist.

As long as civilizations have been on Earth, settlements were built and destroyed, either by war or Mother Nature. Some of these ancient civilizations were found in the deepest points of uninhabited jungle, on the highest peaks of mountain tops and some have slipped into the seas.

Here are the stories of Asia’s underwater cities.

Yonaguni-Jima, Japan

In 1989, a diver noticed peculiar rock formations in the Yonaguni waters, and on closer inspection, he discovered that the placing of the stones correlated to the fabled story of the Mu civilization that is rumored to have vanished under the waves after a colossal tsunami caused by the slipping of a tectonic plate.

The discovery was one of the most-hotly debated finds in decades and the argument of whether the stones are a beautiful creation from nature, or whether the formation once homed a whole city, still rages on today.

Lion City of Qiandao Lake, China

The underwater labyrinth of beautifully-carved stone is a preserved time-capsule of the colorful reign of Imperial China, with some of the stone dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The flooding of this ancient city meant 300,000 residents had to be rehomed – with some family lines being traced back to the creation of the ancient city.

Since its rediscovery in 2001, carved dragons, archways and gates have been found around the city. But who knows what other forgotten treasures may lie beneath the surface of the lake?

Gulf of Cambay, India

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In 2002, the ancient city in India’s Gulf of Cambay was discovered. Some believe it is the true city of Dwarka.

The unearthing was entirely accidental and made by a conservation group who were trying to measure water pollution in that area. The ancient city of Dwarka – which is thought to have been built by Lord Krishna – was once regarded as a myth, but these ruins indicate there may be truth in the old fable.

No in-depth searches were ever made to find the city, so when it was discovered, it was a pleasant and fascinating surprise for everyone.

While the archaeologists are still exploring the city, scientists have dated the once coastal settlement to be around 9,500 years old – which predates any other underwater archaeological ruin.