History can’t be forsaken for too long. It is discovered again and discussed again, even after a long spell of forgetfulness. The most recent example is the underwater city of Shi Cheng in China. An entire township, which had “disappeared into the depths of the sea” in a single day, is now very much back in public glare. Very similar to a Greek philosopher’s (read Plato) story on fictional island, this Chinese city had fallen out of favor with the government and vanished from the collective memory only to be sought few decades later.
Here are some interesting facts about ‘China’s Atlantis’ that you might not know:
1. Shi Cheng, which means Lion City in Mandarin, was once a center of politics and commerce in Zhejiang – a province with the largest number of islands in China.
2. In 1959, the city was deliberately flooded to build the Xin’an Dam and hydroelectric power station. Ever since then, it has been lying at a depth of around 131 feet (40 meters) beneath the Qiandao Lake.
3. The stone architecture of the city is attributed to a time when Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) was ruling China. The city walls are believed to date back to the 16th century.
4. This underwater city has wide streets and about 265 archways. As explorers say, the city has “immaculately preserved” stonework of dragons, lions, and phoenixes. Some of the historical inscriptions on the stonework date back to late 18th century.
5. It’s hard to believe, but every structure of the city remains completely intact despite being under the water for more than five decades. Interestingly, even the wooden beams and stairs remain as they were. The city has earned the moniker, ‘time capsule’, owing to its historical significance.
6. According to explorers and divers, the Shi Cheng city is replete with white temples, paved roads, houses, and memorial arches.
7. In fact, the city has five gates and five towers. It is arguably as big as 62 football fields. The underwater city has six streets made of pebbles and flagstone. These streets connect the entire township.
8. The Lion city is a huge temptation for advanced divers who can get up close. The dive operators, who are keen on using this metropolis as a tourist site, have started conducting regular dives, especially between April and November.