Lost Underwater Lion City: Rediscovery of China’s ‘Atlantis’

June 1st, 2012 Permalink

Once upon a time, an ancient city in China was named Lion City because Five Lion Mountain loomed large behind it. The city, also known as Shi Cheng, has been buried beneath the water for 53 years. Like the lost Incan City of Machu Picchu was ‘rediscovered,’ so was this lost underwater city that had been founded about 1,300 years ago. Lion City is now located about 85 – 131 feet (26-40 meters) beneath the gorgeous Thousand Island Lake (Qiandao Lake). This valley was submerged when a dam was constructed and a lake was needed. The lake and thousands of islands were man-made. Shi Cheng ‘defied’ the Chinese norm since 5 gates and 5 towers were built into the city instead of 4. Lion City is about the size of 62 football fields. International archaeologists and a film crew recorded the amazing perservation of the lost ‘ruins.’ [23 Photos, 2 Videos]

Lion City, lost underwater Shi Cheng, dubbed China's Atlantis rediscovered

More than half a century ago, the Chinese flooded Lion City, also called Shi Cheng. Recently Shi Cheng was explored by archaeologists who dubbed ‘Lion City’ as China’s ‘Atlantis rediscovered.’ Photo #1 by Chinese National Geography via Cheer All

Thousand Island Lake (Qiandao Lake) in China hides a lost underwater city

Thousand Island Lake (Qiandao Lake) is a gorgeous man-made lake located in Zhejiang, China. Photo #2 by trasyy


The valley was flooded in 1959 to create the lake for the Xin'an River Dam project. This is Xinanjiang Hydroelectric Station

The valley was flooded in 1959 to create the lake for the Xin’an River Dam project. This is Xinanjiang Hydroelectric Station. Photo #3 by Dragon Moon Bay Hotel

Submerged Shi cheng, underwater exploration of lost ancient Lion City

The first underwater exploration attempt of the drowned city was in 2001 when it was discovered there were 265 arches in the preserved ruins. Lion City is about the size of 62 football fields. Photo (Drawing) #4 by Chinese National Geography

Diving in China, Qiandao Lake, posted in 2009. Video #1 by Lukas H

Underwater film crew explored Qiandao Lake and the ancient Lion City that was sunk half a century ago to build the Xinâ -- an Jiang hydropower station

According to Our World, “It was decided to make an underwater city accessible to tourists. Special submarine height of 3.8 meters and a length of 23 meters with a capacity of 48 passengers, was built over six million U.S. dollars to bring everyone in the underwater kingdom.” The proof-of-concept archimedes bridge, a submerged floating tunnel, was not finished and was “banned” to avoid damaging the “delicate undersea structures.” This image was captured in January 2011 as an underwater film crew tagged along with archaeologists to explore Qiandao Lake and the ancient Lion City. Photo #5 by Chinese National Geography via Animal World

Aerial shot of Thousand Island Lake in China, underneath is the Lost Lion City

This aerial shot of Thousand Island Lake is interesting, but even more interesting is what lies underneath in the Lost Lion City. Photo #6 by fotki

Rediscovering ancient city, China's Atlantis beneath Qiandao Lake

According to National Geography, as the dive depth increased beneath Qiandao Lake, ever darkening, it was almost all black by 28 meters underwater. The diving lights gave only about two meters of visibility and the submerged city is at a depth of 26-40 meters (85 – 131 feet). But they found out that even wooden beams and stairs were intact. Photo #7 by Our World

Intricate carvings engraved on buildings as seen when a group of Chinese archaeologists rediscovered the the underwater Shi cheng City

Intricate carvings engraved on buildings as seen when Chinese National Geography released images taken by archaeologists/divers rediscovering the the underwater ‘lost’ city. Photo #8 by Chinese National Geography

Chain of islands in man-made Qiandao Lake, China

There is a chain of over 1,078 man-made large islands and a few thousand smaller ones at Qiandao Lake. Photo #9 by Oksana Lyutova

Restoration picture of Shicheng city in east China's Zhejiang Province, the drowned Lion City since 1959

According to Chinese National Geography, “This is a restoration picture of Shicheng city in east China’s Zhejiang Province. The city has been submerged under Qiandao Lake since 1959 and the construction of the Xin’an River Hydropower Station.” Photo #10 by Chinese National Geography

Massive amount of fish on Yule Bridge on 1 of the Thousand Lakes Islands (Qiandao Lake)

Massive amount of fish on Yule Bridge, as seen while crossing one of the Thousand Lake Islands. Photo #11 by lenhz

Lovers Island in man-made Qiandao Lake

This is called ‘Lovers Island.’ Photo #12 by Dragon Moon Bay Hotel

Carp jumping wildly, fishing in China near where Atlantis was rediscovered

Carp jumping wildly, fishing in China near where “Atlantis” was “rediscovered.” Photo #13 by prikol

International archeologists said the submerged Lion City was an underwater 'time capsule'

International archeologists said Lion City was an underwater ‘time capsule’. Wikipedia states, “At the foot of the Wu Shi mountain (Five Lion Mountain) lays an ancient city known as Shi Cheng (Lions City), built in Dong Han period (25 – 200), first was set up as county in 208, it was named ‘Lion City’ because of the Five Lion Mountain that sits just behind the city. The city remains undisturbed from the surface at a depth of 26-40m, Big Blue dive operator based in Shanghai, runs weekend trips twice a month throughout the year to the city and has started to uncover parts of the lost city.” Photo #14 by Chinese National Geography via1-4all

Ancient city in 2008, Shi Cheng underneath Qiandao (Thousand Island) Lake

This was the ancient city in 2008. Photo #15 by Nihaopaul

Lost Lion city, China's Atlantis, as was seen in February 2012

Lion City had five city gates, each with a tower. Before it was buried beneath the water, Shicheng City had six main stone streets that were used to connect every corner of the city. Photo #16 by Chinese National Geography via 1-4all

Qiandao Hu fishing village as seen while touring Thousand Island Lake

Qiandao Hu fishing village as seen while touring Thousand Island Lake. Photo #17 by le niners

Cable cars over lush forests, another mode of transportation on Qiandaohu

Cable cars over lush forests, another mode of transportation on Qiandaohu. Photo #18 by Daniel Hjort

Autumn at Qiandao Lake

Autumn at Qiandao Lake. Photo #19 by Patrick He

Thousand Island Lake is a tourist hotspot with 'theme' islands including Bird Island, Snake Island, Monkey Island, Lock Island and Island to Remind You of Your Childhood

Deep beneath Thousand Island Lake used to be a political and economic hub of the region. Photo #20 by trasyy

Along Qiandao Lake

Before Shi Cheng was submerged, 290,000 people had to be relocated from a city where their ancestors had lived in for over 1,300 years. Photo #21 by Daniel Hjort

Video: CCTV Travels Underwater to Ancient City. Video #2 by CNTV

Sunset over the Thousand Island Lake

Sunset over the Thousand Island Lake. Photo #22 by Dale Ellerm

Aerial shot of China's Quiando Lake

Aerial shot of Quiando Lake. This is a tourist hotspot with ‘theme’ islands including Bird Island, Snake Island, Monkey Island, Lock Island and Island to Remind You of Your Childhood. Photo #23 by Our Planet


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