In the Greek Peloponnese, off the coast of southern Laconia lies Pavlopetri, the world’s oldest underwater city that was discovered by geologist Fokion Negris in 1904 and mapped and explored by oceanographer Nicholas Flemming, from the University of Southampton.
This ancient city dates back to the Bronze Age (2800 BC), during the Minoan period, and is located 4 meters below sea level in Pavlopetri. The ancient settlement has been preserved in excellent condition as the water has protected it from decay and human intervention.
The underwater city has buildings, squares, streets and monuments and there are many broken pieces of pottery scattered along the seabed. A large building, 35 meters long, was also located in the same area, which was probably the seat and residence of the city’s political leadership. The archaeologists have also found throughout the city large clay amphorae, statues, tools and other objects of daily use.
Scientists speculate that perhaps a magnitude 8 earthquake sank the city around 1000 BC. while others place the event in 375 AD. Other speculations regarding the possible reasons cite a sea level rise, or a tsunami.
The good news is that the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) recently approved a plan that provides underwater routes for swimmers over the sunken prehistoric settlement in Pavlopetri!
The novelty of the Ephorate of Marine Antiquities’s plan (EEC), is that it links the archaeological site’s promotion with the protection of the important wetland located within the archaeological site, in a single eco-archaeological route. This way, the superb archaeological site and the area’s rare wetland are promoted, while the wider area of Neapolis is featured as a sustainable tourism destination for its