PHOTOS: China's own Atlantis, an Ancient City Preserved Beneath a Man-Made Lake

By Sushmita Dhekne, August 19, 2014

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China has turned a flooding event into a profit-making spot as it recently opened the underwater city of Shicheng to tourists.

Shicheng, or Lion City, is hidden away in the serene waters of the Qiandao Lake between the Five Lion Mountains. The city was formerly a hub of political and economic activity in Zhejiang province, but in 1959, the city was deliberately flooded by the government in order to build a hydroelectric power station. About the size of 62 football fields, the city was home to over 5,000 residents and is now located between 85 and 131 feet under the man-made lake.

Fast forward 55 years and the mostly forgotten Atlantis is now becoming a popular tourist attraction. 

The Chinese National Geographic released images taken by archaeologists and divers exploring the submerged city.



Tian Dongmen, 75, a former resident of the Lion City, was invited by CCTV to the Qiandao Lake for the exploration. 

While enthusiastically showing his sketches and poems of the city, he said:

Some of the children scorned us adults because they were forced to move from their homes and the place they had known all their lives. But we didn't take it to heart. We were doing our duty for our country, and that was important to us.

Tian had been relocated to Fuzhou when the government ordered them to vacate the city.



A diving team was dispatched to explore the secluded city before tours could be planned. According to the divers, the city is "immaculately preserved," and even brought back a brick to prove it. Qiu Feng, a local tourist official, said that almost every structure, including the wooden beans and stairs, have remained unscathed. 

This "time capsule" is an underwater paradise for divers and has been suggested as a destination for diving clubs. 

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