There is something eerie and ominous in the way some cities have been lost to the hands of time. How they simply sit and wait for the Earth to take them back. These cities linger and wait for a stranger or passerby to notice them, and in turn they are revealed to the world once more, showing off their rubble, ruins, and history for all the world to see.
But what makes these types of places the way they are? A lot of these towns and villages have been burned down after a terrible fire, and others have experienced unfortunate circumstances which eventually led to the evacuation of an entire community. And one of the leading causes of town wide devastation is flooding.
With flooding, this force of nature presents itself with such overwhelming power, in such a short period of time, it’s a wonder, as well as one of the worst situations a town or village could experience. Of course, you have places that took awhile for the waters to overtake everything, but regardless, it doesn’t shy away from the fact that nature can sometimes be a destructive force which we simply cannot avoid. Other times, flooding is deliberate and entire towns are sacrificed for a reservoir and dam. Then when the drought occurs, deep waters recede and long-lost ghost towns are exposed.
Here are fifteen photos that show the massive and heavy force that water can have on defeated communities around the world.
15. Potosi, Venezuela
This Venezuelan town was once a thriving community full of people. Sadly, like many different places around the world, Potosi was taken away by flood waters. This was due to the hydroelectric dam which was being built that forced so many out of their homes. The year in which the citizens were evacuated was 1985, and for 20 years the town remained under water, with only a simple white cross atop the church, jutting out above the waters as if to provide a sense of hope for the town. Eventually, in the year 2010, the waters receded, revealing much of the town that was once lost thanks to water shortage and the drought in the area. At first glance, this church seems like a very ancient ruin, however, this is only due to the many years of being under water as the effects of erosion and water damage took its toll.
14. Curon Venosta, Italy
What was once known as a vibrant alpine town with bustling and busy people, Curon Venosta in Italy was completely flooded, forcing everyone who lived in the town, out of their homes. Jutting out from what is now known as Lago di Resia the top of a bell tower can be seen rising above the artificial lake as a symbol of what once was. The decision to flood the town was made not long after World War II. There were three pre-existing lakes which the country wanted to adjoin, thus, the Lago di Resia came into creation. The entire is currently completely buried with sand and while people may not be able to visit this once busy town, the bell tower, which was built in the 14th century, serves as a reminder of that people will often go to great lengths in order to form yet another lake, even if it costs people their homes.
13. Vilarinho da Furna, Portugal
Vilarinho da Furna was a city lost to the water. In 1972, the tragic news was given to the residents of this village, and people started evacuating as soon as possible. Due to the new building of a dam in the area, the evacuation was required and while this was bad news for the people of the town, it also meant that this ancient village, which had been around since the time of the Romans, would be lost to the depths forever. It’s one of the many examples which serves as a great loss to history. When they left, they took as much as they could from their homes as they made their way to their new places of residence. Fortunately, the villagers of this land and their descendants were somehow able to keep their legal ownership of the land. Sometimes, the water levels decrease, allowing access to the small village. However, living there is still not an option for them, as the water continues to reside there.
12. Villa Epecuen, Argentina
This busy tourist village was once home to 5,000 at its major peak in the 1970’s. Located in the country of Argentina, the village once brought in great profit for the area, however, due to very large amounts of rainfall, the lake’s banks started to swell, pushing the water against the dam which eventually broke due to the pressure, forcing water upon the village in 1985. When 1993 rolled around, the waters had managed to reach depths of 33 feet. Due to these high rises, people of the village were forced from their homes. The waters continued to stay high until 2009 when the waters finally started to go down. Then, in 2011, the town was somehow inhabited by one person. If you visit the area now, the results of the flood waters have created a living environment less desired by many. Aerial photos were taken of the damage and the results are devastating to say the least.
11. The Lost Towns, Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts
Between the years 1930 and 1939, four towns disappeared beneath vast amounts of water due to the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts. Prescott, Dana, Enfield, and Greenwich were all swept away from the eyes of time. But the towns tried to put up a fight against the creation of the reservoir, giving hope to some of the citizens in the towns. Certain residents took their case to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, praying that their attempts to oppose the powers in place would follow through. Unfortunately, their tries proved futile. Buildings upon buildings were destroyed in each town, however, the cellars from certain structures were left untouched, leaving behind a part of the town. Today there are certain parts of Dana that have been revealed which people can see and many photos have been taken of the location showing the destructive power of water as well as destructive human decisions.
10. The Lost Villages Of Ontario, Canada
In 1958, ten communities located in Ontario, Canada were completely taken by the fury of water. Due to the creation of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the people in charge of its creation felt it necessary to force the people of the towns out of their homes. Most people know them as the “Lost Villages”, and surprisingly, most of these places are still very much intact. Divers have been known to descend into the seaway’s depths to get a glimpse of the past. In some parts of the water, the surfaces of the building can be seen with the naked eye above water, however, all of the structures remain underwater, and with so many people around the world discovering its depths, it’s no wonder that this place has attracted so much attention. However, not all was lost beneath the seaway’s depths. Many items which came from the citizens in the town are now housed in a museum, preserved for all time for anyone to see.
9. St. Thomas, Lake Mead, Nevada
In 1865, Mormon settlers declared this span of land near the Colorado River, their home. While the town wasn’t exactly large, it was home to, at its peak, 500 residents. Unfortunately, the people of the town were forced to leave their homes in 1871 when a land surveying project declared that the Nevada stateline be moved. This gave the state the ability to collect taxes from the residents due to previous years of gold collection. And while some residents ended up moving back to claim what was rightfully theirs, they weren’t able to stay for very long. The Hoover Dam was in the process of construction, and by the time it was completed, this caused the waters of the Colorado River to rise, forcing the remaining citizens to flee from their homes to find new accommodations in 1938. The old town’s ruins can still be seen today. When the water levels of the river are low, buildings are revealed, showing just a small glimpse of what the town was all about.
8. Petrolandia, Brazil
This amazing and unusually structured church once stood in the town of Petrolandia, Brazil. The architects of this building were obviously going for something very different in a time where strange was probably looked down upon. However, the church never got its chance to experience many people coming in and out to worship. If you go the site today, you will find the top of the church jutting out of the waters as the only symbol of a town once lost to a large amount of flooding, all of it due to yet another construction of a dam in the area. This dam was hydroelectric and the people of the company saw an opportunity. But much like most companies who decide to flood a town, nothing is taken into consideration about the permanence of a home, and what it means to make a piece of land your own, only to have it taken away from you.
7. Lion City, China
Beneath the depths of China’s Thousand Island Lake, there exists a submerged architectural wonder, one of the most beautiful the world has ever witnessed. These structures are so well preserved and amazing that there are plans to set it up as a tourist destination. This place is known as Lion City and was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty. The entire span of the city levels out to about 62 football fields, certainly large enough to spend all day exploring and still not discover the entire city. It is considered to be a very popular diving destination full of many amazing wonders to discover. Many have called Lion City, China’s Atlantis because of the surviving structures below. And with so many things to discover, it isn’t a surprise that the people of China want to turn it into something that would be more accessible by everyone, not just divers and enthusiasts.
6. Cleopatra’s Alexandria, Egypt
The Alexandria that many Egyptians once spoke of in writing was lost for 1,600 years, leaving many people to think its existence was simply a legend made up by someone so many years ago. However, in 1998 a team of marine archaeologists found the ruins close to the shores of the modern day Alexandria. The discovery revealed huge monuments, still standing after so many years. It was theorized that the city most likely experienced and earthquake, allowing the sea to take the city into its depths. But that wasn’t the only thing the marine team found deep beneath the waves. Sphinxes, temples, and statues of some very interesting subjects were scattered all around along with the discovery of a very large palace which the team believed most likely belonged to Cleopatra. There have been recent dives which have surfaced some very detailed knowledge of the life of Cleopatra, as well as Marc Antony.
5. Pavlopetri, Greece
Pavlopetri is a well known wonder, and considered one of the most important underwater archaeological finds. The site was found in 1967 and provided a clear look at a society lost beneath the waves. Experts believe that the city was submerged by a number of earthquakes just off the coast of the beautiful country, Greece. It is the oldest underwater archaeological townsite in the world, that we know of. Pavlopetri differs from other underwater towns in the fact that practically every structure of the town, including roads, buildings and other various objects, are still very much intact. Archaeologists were able to get a very vivid idea of what the town looked like before it went under, giving us a picture into the past of what this town had in store for its citizens. Unlike certain towns submerged in deep depths, Pavlopetri is only 10-13 feet underwater, allowing easier access for those wishing to study it.
4. Port Royal, Jamaica
Hundreds of years ago, rumors spread far and wide about the infamous town of sin and booze. Port Royal was its name and for many, it was considered to be a pirate’s favorite place to be. But the favored party city was also home to some very beautiful and sophisticated plantation homes in which rich men and women once lived. And whether it was swept away because of the wicked deeds of the people, or simply the shifting sands beneath their feet, the entirety of the city was completely taken under, deep into the sea. Because of this, there were many deaths, well over 1,500, and everyone looked at its demise the same way. However, underwater archaeologists have discovered many different artifacts and structures still intact. Sadly, the town continues to sink, forcing it under the sand even further with time, making it harder for archaeologists to find evidence of its history.
3. Dwarka, Gulf of Cambay, India
There is a story which is widely known in India; Lord Krishna, a major Hindu deity, once had an exquisite and rather large city of beauty built. According to legend, there were 70,000 palaces built which were made of gold, silver and various precious metals. Upon his death, this famed city known as Dwarka met its end.
This is the myth many archaeologists believe is associated with a very famous archaeological find. In the year 2000, the ruins were found by means of acoustic techniques. The ruin’s official name is the Gulf of Khambat Cultural Complex. The ruins are 131 feet below and are practically geometrically perfect. Fortunately, before this city sunk, people had already abandoned the location. Dwarka is a very important site to the Hindu religion, marking it as a popular place for Hindu pilgrimage. Fortunately, archaeologists have been able to collect various artifacts from the site, giving us a look at what the city was like long ago.
2. Geamana, Romania
Located in the Apuseni Mountains of Transylvania, Geamana was once a beautiful and vivid town which teemed with life. Before the town was flooded, about 400 families called this town home. Sadly, in the 1970s, the residents of this town were forced to leave. The government had been making plans to create a lake which would consist mainly of chemical waste. Amid the sludge and nasty waters of what was once a gorgeous town full of people who were simply trying to live there, is the lasting remnants of a church, its highest point sticking out from the gross waters below. This town is yet another terrible example showing just how far governments are willing to go to get what they want when it comes to vast changes to the environment. What makes this lake so bad is the fact of pollution to the planet in which the lake is constantly causing.
1. San Roma de Sau, Spain
Due to the creation of a reservoir, the village of San Roma de Sau was flooded, pushing its residence out forever. It was a heart breaking event considering the town had been there for a millennium. What made it so much worse was the fact that the citizens had to dig up the remains of their relatives before the town could be flooded. All the structures, including ancient ruins, were completely enveloped by the massive waters, leaving to the mercy of the depths, lost until the depths of the water recede. When the reservoir is at its highest, only the tip of the church can be seen, however, during periods of major drought, the entire church can be seen. For whatever reason, when the church was fully above the water, workers fortified the church, reinforcing it with concrete. Perhaps the people of the town, or someone of empathy, felt the need to do the deed.