Lion City: The Chinese "Atlantis" Preserved Under Water For More Than 50 Years!

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


One of the five preserved entrance gates to the city. Most ancient cities only have four gates, which means that this was an important and powerful place at its height. (image source)

About 130 feet under Qiandao Lake in China sits a perfectly preserved city that disappeared under the water in 1959 when the valley where it sat was purposely flooded to make way for the Xin'an River Dam. Almost 300,000 people were relocated.

It stood at the foot of Wu Shi Mountain or Five Lion Mountain, which is where the ancient city got it's name: Shi Cheng or Lion City. Originally built at some point between 25-200 AD, the city was once a powerful centre in the eastern province it is located in.

Hidden from the sun, wind and other forms of corrosion, wooden structures like this staircase are almost perfectly preserved in the underwater city. (image source)

Hidden from the sun, wind and other forms of corrosion, wooden structures like this staircase are almost perfectly preserved in the underwater city. (image source)

The city lay covered and forgotten until 200l when the Chinese government sent an expedition to the lake to see if there was any trace of it still remaining. What they found was released to the public in 2011 and shows that the massive city of five gates, 265 archways, stonework, incredible carvings, city walls, and wooden staircases has been almost perfectly preserved! 

The city is still being explored, mapped and researched, but if you are trained in deep water and night dives, there are dive operators that may be willing to take you out there!

Click here to see more images of this incredible discovery.