9 Real-Life Sunken Cities

Forget Atlantis (which probably doesn’t exist)—we’re taking a trip to nine cities that ended up underwater in the latest episode of The List Show.
An illustration of Atlantis, the lost underwater city.
An illustration of Atlantis, the lost underwater city. / bkkillustrator via Shutterstock

When you think about sunken cities, your mind probably jumps right to Atlantis, that super-advanced island nation mentioned in Plato’s works that became really wicked and hedonistic and was eventually relegated to the bottom of the ocean after getting hit with some earthquakes. 

Unfortunately for conspiracy theorists and fans of Aquaman, Atlantis probably didn’t actually exist. As Benjamin Radford writes at Live Science, the island is a “moral fable” of which “no trace … has ever been found despite advances in oceanography and ocean floor mapping in past decades.”

Atlantis may be a myth, but there are many actual cities that are now at the bottom of the ocean. From ancient Greek metropolises to modern beach towns, sometimes a city is just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Take Neapolis, for example. Founded in the 5th century BCE on the coast of North Africa, Neapolis did major business in the fermented fish-based sauce garum—in fact, it may have been the largest manufacturer of garum in the ancient Roman world. Unfortunately, though, most of the town was wiped off the map in July 365 CE after a strong earthquake (maybe 8.5 magnitude by modern measurements) triggered a huge tsunami that also damaged Alexandria and Crete.

Neapolis is just one notable sunken city that Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy dives into on the latest episode of The List Show. Watch the full episode above, and don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Floss on YouTube for more fascinating videos.

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