Underwater archeologist Frank Goddio has searched for remnants of past civilizations his entire life. But, even he wasn’t expecting to discover a civilization thought to be lost a long time ago. Until now, it was only considered to a myth. Nevertheless, you know what they say: there’s a thin line between myth and reality.
It was believed that this ancient city was lost under the sea for good. No, it’s not Atlantis… But, it’s close enough. Deep below the ocean’s surface, the forgotten Egyptian city of Thonis-Heracleion has finally been found.
Heracleion dates back to the 6th century B.C. and holds some of the most amazing monuments, artifacts, and art you can possibly imagine.
However, this mythical city, swallowed by the Mediterranean Sea, buried by sand and mud for over 1200 years shouldn’t be confused with the city of Heraklion which is the administrative capital of the island of Crete.
Even though Herodotus and many other ancient Greek philosophers mention the now-submerged city in their writings, the existence of this city wasn’t proven until the nineteenth century.
The ancient port city was founded around 3000 years ago at the present location of Aby Qir bay, 15 miles north-east of Alexandria.
Can you imagine? The once prosperous coastal city, today remains submerged under 150 feet of water in the Bay of Aboukir.
And its unparalleled beauty is only part of the incredible story that surrounds it. Even Helen of Troy and Paris, her lover have visited this city of extraordinary wealth.
Its recent discovery has unearthed a number of artifacts including giant statues of gods and goddesses, figures, and anchors. And, surprisingly, all of them were found in a good condition.
This find is monumental for the historic preservation community and has been commissioned by museums around the world.
Check out the images below a get a glimpse of this incredible underwater city.
This is diver Franck Goddio scrutinizing an enormous hand-carved statue of a pharaoh. The statue is about 16 feet tall and it was found near a large temple under the sea.
Here is the head of a statue carved out of red granite, featuring the Nile-flooding god Hapi. This god is also a symbol of abundance and fertility. Large statues like are extremely rare.
The divers and their team of researchers lift the statue to the surface in order to transport it to a museum.
The pharaoh, the queen, and the god Hapi are laid next to a temple stele. The stele dates back to the 2nd century B.C. Even though it was found broken into 17 pieces, it was placed back together.
A gold plaque discovered in the southern part of the city. The text is written in Greek and initially intended to represent a signature for foundation deposits in the name King Ptolemy III (246 – 222 B.C.).
This is a reflected image of a bronze statue of the god Osiris. The crown is an insignia of power, and the eyes are adorned with gold sheets.
Each detail of this site in Aboukir Bay has been thoroughly scrutinized and documented. Here is a diver measuring a red granite statue underwater.
A bronze oil lamp which dates back to the 2nd century B.C.
Diver Franck Goddio shows an inscribed stele which was ordered by Nectanebo between 378 and 362 B.C.
This stele has been underwater for well over 1200 years.
These gold fragments date back to the 6th century. It’s incredible that they are still intact.
A shallow gold saucer which was used for drinking and serving.
An absolutely stunning statue of a Ptolemaic queen (perhaps Cleopatra II or Cleopatra III) dressed as the goddess Isis.
A 4-ton red granite statue found near the temple of Heracleion.
It’s a Graeco-Egyptian statue of a queen, carved out of dark stone.
This is the head of a pharaoh statue which measures over 5 meters, carved out of red granite.
Bronze figure of the pharaoh of the 26th dynasty found at a temple in Heracleion.
As you can see, these statues and artifacts are massive and nearly perfectly preserved. The attention to even the smallest detail is truly astounding. It’s amazing how this city has been left untouched underwater for so many years and it’s being preserved today with great care.