6 of the best Mediterranean underwater ruins to dive
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of the best Mediterranean underwater ruins to dive

Sunken Antirhodos Island, in Alexandria’s murky eastern harbour, holds ancient treasures such as palace columns and black granite sphinxes that once stared at Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Temples, buildings, palaces, statues, ceramics, coins, jewellery and every day objects lay untouched on the seabed covered by thick layers of sand and sediment for more than 1,200 years. Unfortunately for divers, all the well-preserved pieces have now been taken out of the water to be placed in museums. However, you still get the feel of the underwater civilisation and there are some artefacts to be seen.

A version of this article orignally appeared in the June issue of ShowBoats

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of the best Mediterranean underwater ruins to dive

A first century BC aristocratic villa, Emperor Claudius’ Nymphaeum and ancient pillars among fumaroles are but a few highlights within this underwater archeological park, which once was a Roman resort west of current Naples. For years these ruins were only enjoyed by a few intrepid archaeologists, but now tourists can visit the park to see some of its preserved underwater mosaics, statues and Roman ruins. If you are not into diving it is also possible to view the ruins by taking a tour in a glass-bottomed boat.

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of the best Mediterranean underwater ruins to dive

Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Helen and her lover, Paris, visited this ancient Egyptian port city before the Trojan War. The city was believed to be a legend by many until it was re-discovered in 2000. The underwater civilization was found during a survey of the north coast of Egypt and ever since researchers have been discovering more about the city through which trade from Greece and the Mediterranean entered Egypt. During their research archaeologists have discovered the wreckages of more than 64 ships, gold coins and giant 16-foot statues.

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ROMAN SHIPWRECKS, ITALY

Submerge yourself in adventure on a mini-submarine archeological expedition where you’ll view, document and photograph recently discovered Roman shipwrecks that sank between 200 BC and 400 AD near Panarea Island. Before being discovered these Roman and Greek shipwrecks had not seen by human eyes for 2,000 years. This summer will be the first time that shipwrecks will be shared with citizen archaeologists and adventurous travellers.

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of the best Mediterranean underwater ruins to dive

Don your mask and snorkel to view the shallow foundations of one of the world’s oldest-known submerged cities (dating back 5,000 years) in Greece. Scientists estimate that the city was sunk in around 1000 BC due to earthquakes that shifted the land. Despite this and even after 5,000 years, the arrangement of the city is still clearly visible and at least 15 buildings have been found. Historians believe that the ancient city had been a centre for commerce for the Minoan Civilization and the Mycenaean civilization

Once you are finished underwater you can then investigate the land-based ruins, as well.

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of the best Mediterranean underwater ruins to dive

You can snorkel over the remains of this once-thriving Minoan city off Elounda, Crete. The site has mosaic floors depicting birds and fish and they are all that remain of two chapels associated with the town. Coins excavated from the site show Zeus, an eagle, a dolphin or a star. Artefacts from the site can be seen in the archaeological museum of Agios Nikolaos and in the Louvre.

If you would prefer to remain dry, like the Greek wine retsina, no worries — low tide uncovers the city wall.

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