The Peloponnesus region in Southern Greece hides a lost city that dates back to more than 5,000 years ago, known as Pavlopetri. The city was discovered in 1967 and is believed to be one of the oldest submerged settlements in the world; it is situated only 4 meters under the sea, making it very easy to access by divers of all experience levels. While it was sunk in 1000 BC, the city is believed to have been inhabited up to 1,500 years prior to that time.
Sonar mapping and recent excavations have revealed much about the city’s past, and the fact that it was kept in such a pristine condition over the period of the past five millennia has definitely helped a great deal. The Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations used to thrive in the period when the lost city was inhabited, and the city itself is believed to have been a center of commerce that linked the two civilizations. Archeological findings seem to be consistent with its connection to the Bronze Age Minoan civilization, even though it was at first dated at about 1600-1100 BC in the Mycenaean period. It is believed now, however, that the city has been populated starting at 2800 BC, up until the time it was submerged, almost 1800 years later.
The city is now believed to have been submerged in 1000 BC due to increased seismic activity that caused the entire area to be engulfed by water. It was, however, neither destroyed by the earthquakes, nor was it disturbed in any way during the subsequent centuries, awaiting its rediscovery patiently only a few meters under the surface of the Vatika bay, where it is located. Today, only a small island known by the same name as the lost city survives, its surface area, however, covering only a very small percentage of the entire area of the underwater city.
By most standards, this remarkable 5,000 year old city is actually more complex than many human settlements today. Advanced architecture and extremely accurate building techniques point to the fact that the civilization that built it was definitely not at the same level as many other European settlements during that time, but much more advanced.
Despite its age, the city is remarkably well-designed, and it features roads, channel pipes and a large plaza, as well as homes and buildings featuring complex architecture and up to 12 rooms – attractions that divers will love to explore. At a dive’s distance from the beach of Punta, only a few meters off the shoreline, the Lost City is a real treasure for divers who love swimming in crystal-clear azure waters. Pavlopetri is now considered to be one of Greece’s most prized ancient sites, as well as one of the oldest submerged cities ever discovered.