There are an overwhelming amount of dive sites around the world that invite keen scuba divers to submerge themselves below the water and to bask in the wonderment of coral reefs and tropical fish. But what if you’re seeking a little more adventure in your diving? Read on to discover five underwater cities that are waiting to be explored.
The Pyramids of Yonaguni-Jima, Japan
Located to the south of the Japanese island of Yonaguni, the underwater structures here were discovered relatively recently, in 1985. There has been much debate to as whether the formations here were naturally occurring or the remains of an ancient civilisation, long buried beneath rising sea levels. In recent years, it has been confirmed that the structure is a man-made monolith carved from a natural formation. Resembling Incan temples more than Egyptian pyramids, the structure is carved into staircase-like terraces running its height. Besides the appeal of discovering this ancient structure, this is also a hotbed for hammerhead sharks, further intensifying the appeal of adventure diving.
Dwarka, Gulf of Cambay, India
The Gulf of Cambay is one of the most exciting dive sites in the entire world, thanks to the ruins of an ancient civilisation that lurks beneath the water. Debris from the site has been carbon dated at almost 9,500 years old, which make it one of the most important archeologically discoveries of recent times. An important location for Hindu pilgrimage, it has been suggested that the ruins could be the lost legendary city of Lord Krishna. Diving here will bring you face to face with the geometric ruins of an entire city, now lost forever under the ocean.
Lion City of Qiandao Lake, China
Lion City is an anomaly on this list, as the ancient ruins were located above water only fifty years ago. In 1959, the area was flooded to create a hydroelectric power station and a reservoir, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes and submerging two ancient cities that lay at the foot of the mountains underwater. Although visibility is minimal, diving here is an experience not to be missed, as you swim around remarkably well-preserved ruins, with engravings, carvings and sculptures carved into the stone walls. The water has actually served to protect the structures from the harsher elements of sun, wind and rain, leaving an astonishing amount of detail to be savoured.
Pavlopetri, southern Greece
The lost Greek city that potentially inspired the legend of Atlantis is the oldest documented discovery of underwater ruins in the world. It is also one of the best preserved, comprising of an entire town plan of streets and structures that can be easily identified by divers. The remains of many looms and pots have been discovered during dives, suggesting that the town was a trading port and part of the thriving textiles industry before it was submerged following a succession of earthquakes. There are plenty of treasures to uncover for keen divers, although it is important to primarily consider the preservation of the site.
The Temple of Lake Titicaca, Peru/Bolivia
Located in the Andes in between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the resting place of an ancient underwater temple, said to be almost 1,500 years old. Twice the size of a football pitch, the ruined temple lurks beneath the surface of the world’s highest lake, drawing in crowds of archaeologists and adventure divers intrigued by tales of lost treasures. Alongside the ruins of the temple, divers can discover terraces, underwater caves and an ancient road, with the chance of unearthing ceramic artefacts. Be aware that diving at such a high altitude is suitable for only advanced divers.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.