An amazing 71% of our World is covered with water, approximately 326 million billion gallons of the stuff. And it hides A LOT of secrets. Here are 7 underwater cities you never knew existed…

An amazing 71% of our World is covered with water, approximately 326 million billion gallons of the stuff. And it hides A LOT of secrets. Here are 7 underwater cities you never knew existed...For as long as I can remember, the big blue has captured my imagination and made me wonder.

Atlantis; the daddy of all underwater cities thats been forever argued over as fact or fiction.

The Blue Whale; the largest animal ever to have lived on planet Earth.

RMS Titanic; the iconic British passenger liner that struck an iceberg and sank, now resting 12,500 feet beneath the surface of the mighty Atlantic.

Swashbuckling pirates, King Neptune/the mighty Poseidon, tsunamis and whirlpools, mythical sea creatures and monsters of the deep. All these have one thing in common and it’s one very big thing indeed: Water. Welcome to my new series of posts. This is……..


Big Blue

As you can probably imagine, documentaries such as The Blue Planet and Shark, films like Jaws and Titanic and even Finding Nemo, all quenched my thirst for everything ‘Big Blue’. None of these famous titles cover this topic however. This first post is based on the many incredible and historical Secrets of the Deep.

Atlantis, myth or not, has yet to be discovered or disproved. There are many other archeological treasures lurking beneath the vast waters of Earth though. They once were lost forever, now they are found.


The Lost Kingdom of Cleopatra, Heracleion (Thonis), Egypt

For over a thousand years, Heracleion or Thonis was considered to be a legend (much like Atlantis is today). It was home to Egyptian Pharaohs and it’s written that Helen of Troy along with her lover, Paris (if familiar with the film Troy, thats Diane Kruger and Orlando Bloom) visited this ancient city as did Heracles (who the city is likely named after).

Heracleion is a myth no longer after being rediscovered in 2000 by Frank Goddio and his team. To date they have unearthed 64 ships, giant 16 foot statues, gold coins, stone slabs inscribed with Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian and hundreds of smaller archaeological gems. Can you imagine being Frank Goddio on first sight of this astonishing discovery? His Christmas sure came early!


The Ancient Lion City, Shi Cheng, China


Ok, so I must confess, this isn’t technically in a sea or ocean but it is one of the most well preserved underwater cities ever to be rediscovered. Shi Cheng is in fact located in the beautiful Quiandao Lake (better known as Thousand Island Lake) in the Zhejiang Province of China.

1,300 years ago, Shi Cheng was a maze of temples, houses and arches that formed a political and economic centre, now it lies 130 feet beneath the surface. In 1959 the Chinese government flooded the valley, creating the lake in order to build a hydroelectric power station. Why you would choose to flood such a beautiful piece of history is beyond me.

Shi Cheng was forgotten for 53 years until divers rediscovered the city. It’s the size of 62 football pitches – it’s amazing they lost it in the first place!


The Mysterious Ancient Pyramids of Yonaguni-Jima, Japan

The amazing underwater city of Yonaguni-Jima-Japan(Source)

This mysterious pyramid has been argued over for years since its discovery in the 1980s. Many have studied it and where some believe it’s simply a result of natural phenomena, other studies suggest it is evidence of an advanced prehistoric civilisation. I know which one I’d like to believe.


The Pirate City of Port Royal, Jamaica

The amazing underwater city of Port Royal, Jamaica(Source)

Once known as the ‘wickedest city on earth’ and home to swashbuckling pirates, Port Royal was a plunderous city in the Seventeenth Century. Today Port Royal is a little less lively.

In 1692 a massive earthquake caused a tsunami to hit Port Royal. Within minutes the majority of the city sank into the sea. Some considered it to be God’s retaliation in judgement of the towns barbaric behaviour. Don’t mess with the big guy! The remainder of the city simply slipped into the sea but remained intact.

Since the 1950’s, Port Royal has been excavated and many of the city’s historical artefacts are on display at the Museum of History and Ethnography in Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston.


The Neolithic Settlement of Atlit-Yam, Israel


Atlit-Yam is an ancient settlement dating back to 6900 BC and now lies submerged, just 10 metres beneath the surface and covers over 40,000 square metres.

The site has been incredibly preserved by the sandy sea bed. This has allowed excavators to retrieve dozens of human skeletons, gravestones and most famously of all, a stone ritual installation. Pretty impressive stuff.

The most important discovery however, was the skeletons of a woman and child who have proven to be the earliest cases of tuberculosis ever found.


The Classical Roman City of Baia, Italy


Baia was once the party capital for Roman elite. I like to think it was a little less Magaluf and a little more Vegas.

Similar to the Roman Baths in the UK, this city was popular for its hot springs and medicinal healing. Some of Ancient Rome’s most powerful figures such as Nero and Caesar are thought to have visited this city on numerous occasions.

The city was later ransacked by a Saracen army and further volcanic activity caused the water level in the surrounding bay to rise, engulfing the city and burying it forever beneath the waves.

Today, Baia is one of the world’s few underwater archaeological parks that is open to tourists. Glass bottom boats run tours over the archeological site so don’t worry if you’re not a keen diver.


The Ancient Greek City of Pavlopetri, Greece

The secret underwater city of Pavlopetri, Greece(Source)

This 5,000 year old city is thought to be the oldest known submerged city in the World. This 9 acre site was home to residents around 2800 BC and was buried underwater in 1000 BC due to a landslide caused by an earthquake. Regardless of the damage the city must have taken, areas of the site are still clearly visible. To date, 15 buildings have been discovered including a Bingo hall, Tesco Local and a TGI Fridays…… Just kidding. I’m sure the Greeks would have dodged a TGI and dined at a Pizza Hut any day.

Discovering the daddy of all underwater cities?

These are just 9 of many underwater cities that have been rediscovered. Of course there are likely to be many more hiding, tucked away just waiting to be unearthed. So polish off your snorkel, pop your googles on and keep your eyes peeled. After all, Atlantis has still yet to be found. A sonar photo taken off the coast of Cuba has got Atlantis hopefuls very excited though!

For now, this discovery goes by the name, ‘The Sunken City of Cuba’ but who knows, it could be Atlantis in disguise……

The secret underwater city of Cuba(Source)

On my next Big Blue post, I’ll be checking out The Big Blue’s Big Residents.


  • Stephen Garone

    That’s a terrifically interesting article. Thanks!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Cheers, Stephen.
      Pleased you enjoyed having a gander 🙂

  • Katja – globetotting

    What a fun post! I had heard about Shi Cheng, in Quiandao Lake, before and thought the story fascinating. As you say – how did they manage to lose it?! Do you know if it’s open to the public for diving?

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Thanks. Katja. Pleased you liked the post.
      I think you can dive Shi Cheng but the companies are limited. I’ve read the best times to visit are October-April 🙂 Would be an amazing experience.

  • TheGlobeWanderers

    Ah thanks, Vera. So pleased you enjoyed the post. Yeah, no sign of Atlantis yet but who knows, tomorrow could be the day….
    Cheers again.

  • Karla

    I haven’t heard about Shi Cheng but it looks really beautifull. This is an interesting post.

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Thank you, Karla.
      Yeah, Shi Cheng looks incredible. A real hidden treasure.
      Cheers for reading 🙂

  • Love and Road

    James, you got me very excited in this post!!

    Didn’t know about many of this city, real under water treasures. Shi Cheng, China, looks stunning, a real gem hidden in deep blue.While reading the post I thought to myself how intelligent we were thousand of years ago to build such magnificent structures, but even though, not clever enough to overcome the power of the nature and the water.

    All the best,


    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Hi Nat.
      Haha, I’m very pleased you found it an interesting read.
      Exactly. Some incredible ingenuity way back when. Not so clever these days to flood Shi Cheng perhaps.
      Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Chris Nash

    Some pretty cool tidbits in here, although is that photo of the pyramid off Japan correct? I always thought it was more natural looking, hence the conjecture…

    There’s also a pretty cool Mayan site hidden beneath the waves of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala that might be worth checking out as well!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Hey Chris.
      Yeah the Mayan site in Guatemala is another awesome find. My original list was 17 but the post would have been never-ending 🙂
      The Yonaguini-Jima photo is partially current form and the top superimposed to create what it may have been like before tidal erosion. There are more pics out there which are equally as impressive.
      Cheers for reading, Chris 🙂

  • sanketdhume

    Wholy shit. I so dig this post! I am a sucker for historic cities that may or may not have been wiped out for some reason or the other. Brilliant stuff.

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Ah thank you! Really appreciate it 🙂 Myth busting is one thing but discovering myth as truth is mega exciting.
      Cheers for reading.

  • Tracie Howe

    What a cool post! Now I really want to get into diving if I can see things like underwater cities! I wonder how much of each remains to be seen.

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Thanks, Tracie. Pleased you enjoyed it.
      Yeah, it works as a good incentive to start diving right.
      Believe there is still a fair bit of Shi Cheng to see and also Baia 🙂

      • Chris Nash

        Sadly, quite a few of these places (from what I understand) are not open to just anybody… but preservation and conservation does come at a price

  • Julie DenOuden

    Oh my goodness, these are absolutely gorgeous! Makes me want to go diving!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Cheers, Julie.
      Get your snorkel and googles out and dive away.
      Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Sab |

    Amazing collection! can’t believe I just found your blog now! You got a new fan!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Hi Sab. Thank you very much. Pleased you like the list.
      Yea! You found us! Great news 🙂
      We’ve been following your blog for a while now. Chuffed to have you as a fan of ours.

  • Kimberly Erin

    This is actually a very very cool post, very creative, good thining. I had no idea all these places even existed, but as a scuba diver, it sounds amazing…

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Oh cheers, Kimberley. So pleased you like the post.
      How long have you been diving? Any top places I should add to my list? I want to do so much more of it.
      Thanks for reading!

  • elizabeth

    Nice post, fascinating. At the rate we are going, there might be a few more to add to this list over the next 2000 years!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Hey Elizabeth. Thanks for reading.
      Quite right. Watch this space 🙂

  • Gemma

    I love this post, Craig is going to be stoked about it as his Dad is a newly retired diver for the Ministry of Defence. It would be his job to dive and look for bodies or black boxes from sunken planes as well as doing some welding undersea. Undersea freaks me out a little bit but I find it very intriguing. This post just goes to show you how important the research is!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Thank you, Gemma. So pleased you loved it 🙂
      Wow what a cool job Craig’s dad had.
      The fact that underwater discovery could be never ending is awesome. There will always be undiscovered spots and treasures 🙂
      Thanks for reading.

  • Doreen Pendgracs

    It truly is amazing what we can encounter under the seas! Thx for this awesome round-up!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Cheers, Doreen.
      My pleasure 🙂 Please you enjoyed the post

  • Trisha Velarmino

    Oh my god! It looks absolutely beautiful down there!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Indeed it does and plenty more to be unearthed yet.
      Thanks for checking us out, Trisha

  • DeafWanderlust

    Wow, I can’t imagine how many more undiscovered underwater cities around the world! I don’t know if I’ll personally dive in and see it for myself since I’m pretty much terrified of deep sea but these are definitely fascinating!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Thanks so much for reading guys.
      It could be countless. Have you done a dive before? I was fearful at first as a little claustrophobic but once I was beneath the waves, it felt like second nature.

  • Pingback: Page Not Found - The Globe Wanderers()

  • Yvonne – The Tourist Of Life

    Amazing! I wouldn’t dare to dive around those places though, it looks kind of scary!

    • TheGlobeWanderers

      Hey Yvonne. Thanks for reading 🙂 yeah few scary spots and fear of getting lost …. Wonder if they’ve got a ‘you are here’ sign ….. 😉

  • miieloise

    Awesome! I’d love to see that for real! (well… maybe not the part with the skulls and skeletons!). I wonder how hard it is to organise a trip down there.

    I’m going to Cancun next year and I’m excited about their Underwater Museum as I’ve never done a dive like that before! Very original 😀