Around the world, there are many villages or even whole cities that have been covered by water. However, just a few of them can be seen without immersing under the surface. If you’re not a diver, here is a collection of mysterious underwater cities that can be admired from dry land or a boat…
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Right in the middle of the Volga river stands a bell tower. Part of it is immersed in water, creating a unique landscape that can be admired from the land or from a boat.
In the past, Kalyazin was divided by two rivers, the small Zhabnya and the Volga. Both banks of the Zhabnya were decorated by two monasteries: of St. Nicholas and the Trinity Kalyazin. As the importance of the city grew over the years, the first monastery became one of the most recognizable and luxurious buildings around.
When the era of the Soviet Union came, Russia wanted to eliminate the “old order” and build a new world. Communists rejected religion and abandoned or destroyed old temples.
Starting in the 1920s, the Russians proceeded with a plan of creating hydropower plants on the Volga. Because of that, countless villages and cities were flooded by the dark waters of the river. Kalyazin met the same fate as places nearby. Most of the village was covered by water; only the cathedral and the bell tower were left emerging from the river. The Soviets destroyed the church, but the bell tower remains. Thanks to that, Kalyazin can be still remembered and admired in its unique form.
This little village might delight with the colors of the water in which it’s immersed, but there is a very dark history behind it. In 1978, communist authorities didn’t have a place to store waste from a local mine. One year after opening the copper mine, Nicolae Ceausescu, an authoritarian ruler of Romania, decided to destroy Geamana and covered it with toxic waste from the mine.
After 400 families left their homes, authorities created an artificial lake, filled with dangerous leftovers. Some buildings of the former village sometimes emerge from the colorful water, creating a surrealistic landscape. Moreover, about 20 people who didn’t decide to move out still live around the lake.
The waste that is located in Geamana creates a huge ecological problem. It’s a ticking bomb that can destroy a huge natural area, including the main river in Transylvania.
Muang Badan Temple, Thailand
Muang Badan is a place where a religious center was built in 1953. Unfortunately, it was located in proximity to three rivers: Songkalia, Beak, and Rantee. As in most of the mentioned cases, this place ended up covered with water because of a dam, which was built nearby in 1984. The main temple was moved up to a hill nearby before the river flooded the place, but leftovers of the building and houses are still in the same place, emerging from above the water.
The best time to visit this place is in March, April, and May. At that time, the water reaches the lowest level and reveals almost the whole underwater complex.
Near the small, yet beautiful Turkish island called Kekova, you can admire a sunken city. The ruins are partially covered with water and are remains of an ancient settlement that was destroyed in the 2nd century by an earthquake.
Remains of houses, gates, stairs, and pieces of wall that emerge from turquoise water create a great view. The area is protected, so to get nearby you are going to need a chartered boat trip.
While being in Kekova, head towards Simena, a stunning historic place. You can admire a castle there, hike beautiful terrain, admire stunning areas, and also see a sarcophagus partially submerged in water.
A little Spanish town which is yet another victim of a dam. The only survivor of the flood is the local church from the 16th century. Its top can be admired from the shore, but many people decide to kayak around it. While the water-sunk church might be an interesting curiosity, the place is worth seeing even for the stunning view of the lake surrounded by mountains.
The 14th-century fortress located in Golubac is considered one of the best-preserved fortresses in the whole of Europe. For centuries, this place survived all types of attacks and battles. It passed from one hand to another, but it was always a stable shelter for anyone who stayed there.
What couldn’t be destroyed by time was broken by modern technology. A hydroelectric dam that appeared on the Danube river in 1964 caused the rising of water levels. Over time, the waters of the Danube covered the lower bank and part of Golubac’s fortress.
Villa Epecuen, Argentina
Villa Epecuen is a unique tourist resort that was created in the 1920s. For long years, it was very popular. In the 1970s, the population of the place surpassed 5000. It seemed like Villa Epecuen had a great future in front of itself. However, nature had a different plan.
Long-lasting, heavy rains, unusual to this area, made Lago Epecuen fill with water. Unfortunately, in 1985, the waters broke through a dam, and the town was covered with water. Over the years, water was slowly swallowing more and more buildings, reaching 10 meters depth in 1993. After that time, the wet weather backed up and thanks to that, in 2009 the remains of the Villa Epecuen reappeared at the surface.
Sant Romà de Sau, Spain
In the 1960s, a place that was inhabited for more than 1000 years stood in the way of “progress”. The government of Catalonia decided to create a reservoir on the river nearby and, as an effect, Sant Romà de Sau was covered with water.
This ghost village can be seen from time to time. When the water level drops, the three-story church tower appears above the water. Sometimes, when the weather is extremely hot and causes a draught, almost the whole ghost village can be seen.
In the time when the water level is high, only the pike of the bell tower peaks from the water, reminding passers-by about the secret place hidden under the water.
Fabbriche di Careggine, Italy
Fabbriche di Careggine was another village that was flooded because of a hydroelectric dam. Most of the time, the village is covered with water, but once the dam is emptied, the ruins of stone houses, a church, and a bridge can be seen. However, the ghost village was immersed only in 1958, 1974, 1983, and 1994.
Nowadays, local authorities do what they can to dry the area around the 12th-century village, so people can see it once again. According to local politicians, work on emerging the village from the depths of the water should start this year.
Vilarinho da Furna, Portugal
Vilarinho da Furna, a Roman Village in Northern Portugal, disappeared into the water in 1972. The cause: a dam that was built by the Portuguese Electric Company. Before 1972, over 300 people had to leave their homes and find a new place to live, before their village was flooded. The worst part is that they got very little compensation: at the time, for one square meter of land, they received around a half sardine worth of money.
Even though Vilarinho da Furna is invisible most of the time, when the reservoir’s water level lowers, it emerges above it. The houses don’t have roofs because, while leaving, people gathered all they could, including tiles. The bare walls of the ruins remind visitors about the sad history of the people who used to live here but were expelled from their own land.