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Perfectly preserved 600-year-old underwater city ‘forgotten’ for decades

Gerrard Kaonga

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| Last updated 

Perfectly preserved 600-year-old underwater city ‘forgotten’ for decades

Featured Image Credit: Yang Bo/VCG via Getty Images / YouTube/CDub

A 600-year-old city in China is impressively well preserved despite being underwater.

Cities, of course, rise and fall but one city under the surface of Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang Province, China has seemingly been frozen in time.

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Shicheng is often referred to as the Lion City primarily due to it's location near the Wu Shi Mountain, or 'Five Lion Mountain'.

The city was intentionally flooded in 1959 - with its history and origin being a continuing mystery.

No the wonder it is often referred to the 'Atlantis of the East'. But why was it flooded you may ask?

Well, essentially to make way for progress as the government needed the city out of the way in order to build the Xin’an hydroelectric dam.

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The city Shicheng is often referred to as the Lion City due to it being close to the Wu Shi Mountain.Credit: Yang Bo/VCG via Getty Images)
The city Shicheng is often referred to as the Lion City due to it being close to the Wu Shi Mountain.Credit: Yang Bo/VCG via Getty Images)

The 300,000 residents within the city were, of course, relocated elsewhere and the lake was created.

Shicheng itself was very much forgotten however, until it was 'rediscovered' back in 2001.

It now lies only 40 meters (131 feet) below the lake’s surface and divers have

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been able to take some impressive photographs over the years.

And in 2017, tourists were allowed to dive to the city, Indy100 reports.

Unfortunately, if you are hoping to add it to your bucket list then you may be out of luck as you need to have enough diving experience - particularly in night, deep water and exploratory diving.

Buildings are still perfectly preserved. Credit: YouTube/CDub
Buildings are still perfectly preserved. Credit: YouTube/CDub
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Another factor is that much of the underwater city is not fully mapped out - with some parts still undiscovered.

And while the origin of the city is murky at best, according to the BBC, the city walls and other pieces of architecture are found to link back to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Despite this, the city actually wasn’t all that big - measuring at approximately half a square kilometer (0.2 square miles).

The city was intentionally flooded in 1959 and its history and origin has been hotly debated among historians.Credit: Yang Bo/VCG via Getty Images
The city was intentionally flooded in 1959 and its history and origin has been hotly debated among historians.Credit: Yang Bo/VCG via Getty Images
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The city is believed to have preserved so well due to it being submerged in fresh water.

With the absence of salt, sunlight and a marine ecosystem, many of the city's features have remained.

So far what has been discovered are homes, temples structures and paved roads all relatively well preserved.

There's also a total of 265 archways in the submerged city - all decorated with carvings of dragons, phoenixes and lions.

And in 2011, interest in the city peaked again after pictures and graphics were published by the Chinese National Geography - resulting in people taking an interest in exploring the underwater city once more.

Topics: News, Science, China

Gerrard Kaonga
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