The ancient underwater Lion City of China

The ancient underwater Lion City of China

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The Lion City, otherwise known as Shi Cheng, is an ancient submerged city that lies at the foot of Wu Shi Mountain (Five Lion Mountain), now located about 25 – 40 metres beneath the spectacular Qiandao Lake (Thousand Island Lake) in China. In 2014, officials took a renewed interest in the sunken city after discovering that, despite more than 50 years underwater, the entire city has been preserved completely intact, transforming it into a virtual time capsule. By 2017, the place had been opened up to tourists as a diving site and underwater mueum of the well preserved architecture and carvings dating back 1400 years.

The structures in Shi Cheng feature traditional Chinese statues. Photo credit .

The Lion City was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 200 AD) and was first set up as a county in 208 AD. It was once the centre of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang. But in 1959, the Chinese government decided a new hydroelectric power station was required - so it built a man-made lake, submerging Shi Cheng under 40 metres of water.

A sketch of the Lion City, which remains perfectly preserved underwater. Photo credit .

After erecting a dam, now known as Xin'an River hydroelectric, the historical metropolis was slowly filled with water until it was completely submerged by the turquoise-blue mass now referred to as Qiandao Lake. Qiandao Lake covers an area of 573 km² and has a storage capacity of 17.8 km³. More than 1,000 large islands dot the lake and a few thousand smaller ones are scattered across it.

The spectacular Qiandao (Thousand Island) Lake. Photo credit .

There, lying at the bottom of the Thousand Island Lake, the Lion City lay undisturbed and forgotten for 53 years, until Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism, decided to see what remained of the city under the deep waters. He was amazed to discover that, protected from wind, rain, and sun, the entire city complete with temples, memorial arches, paved roads, and houses, had become a ‘time capsule’ as almost every structure was completely intact, including wooden beams and stairs.

Divers have rediscovered the opulent city. Photo credit

Unsurprisingly, this amazing site has now been opened up by the local tourist office and divers are vying to get a look at this ancient sunken city and all the historical treasures it has to offer.

Featured image: The submerged Lion City. Photo credit: Europics/CEN

    Lion City: The Chinese Man-Made Atlantis

    The city of Atlantis is something that has been making the folklore rounds for years now. While the sunken city appears repeatedly in mythology, it has never been found and for the moment, it remains simply a strange tale. Somewhere else in the world, however, a real sunken city has made an appearance. Nestled at the bottom of a man-made lake in China, Lion City is one of the world’s only sunken empires, hearkening back to a time in which life moved at a different pace.

    Ruling as an empire between the years 25 and 200 AD, the city of Shicheng was one of the most powerful places in what is now China. The city stood the test of time, remaining in the country even centuries later as a cultural monument. Shicheng’s future wasn’t in the cards, however, and in 1959, the Chinese government created the Xin’an River Dam Project, choosing the city site as the location. The valley in which the city had so proudly stood for centuries was flooded with water, submerged beneath the depths.

    Thanks to the new project, the ancient metropolis was all but forgotten for a number of decades, lying in wait beneath the water. In 2001, however, a local tourist office took to the bottom of the lake in order to uncover what the Chinese government had so suddenly hidden years before. Launching their own investigation, the Qiu Feng office arranged for an underwater excursion, sending a team 130 feet beneath the lake.

    The crew stumbled across the sunken city, which they quickly likened to the mythological city of Atlantis. Over the years, the metropolis had been preserved into an eery, watery space, complete with ancient buildings, walkways and statues. In fact, it was partly because of the space’s intricate lion statues that it got its named, dubbed “Lion City” from that point onwards.

    Now, the city is a high point on the diving scene and while preparations are being made for tourist groups, only experienced divers are allowed in at this point. Complete in 16th century architecture and decked out in sculpture, Lion City is a window into the past that we aren’t often afforded. The man-made Atlantis, it is a jewel in China’s architectural crown.

    • Shi Cheng was once centre of politics and economics in eastern province of Zhejiang
    • Covered in water to build hydroelectric power station in 1959 and was forgotten
    • Now divers want to use the metropolis as a tourist site and have gone to plan routes

    Published: 10:59 BST, 17 February 2014 | Updated: 13:05 BST, 17 February 2014

    A maze of white temples, memorial arches, paved roads, and houses. hidden 130 feet underwater: this is China's real-life Atlantis.

    The so-called Lion City, tucked in a lake between the Five Lion Mountain, was once Shi Cheng - the centre of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

    But in 1959, the Chinese government decided a new hydroelectric power station was required - so built a man-made lake.


    Metropolis: Shi Cheng, dubbed Lion City after the Lion Mountains that surround it, has lain hidden under 131 feet of water since 1959 to generate hydroelectric power

    Classical: The structures in Shi Cheng were built 1,300 years ago featuring traditional Chinese statues. Away from the wind and sun, it has remained intact

    Erecting a dam, the historical metropolis was slowly filled with water until it was completely submerged by the turquoise-blue mass now referred to as Qiandao Lake.

    Depending on where on the lake bottom it is, the city is between 85 and 131 feet underwater.

    Shi Cheng, China's underwater "Lion City," remains preserved at the bottom of Qiandao Lake.

    The "Lion City" sits around 130 feet under water, and is sometimes referred to as "China's Atlantis of the East."

    The over 1,340-year-old city named for Wu Shi Mountain has been underwater since the construction of the Xin'an River Hydropower Station in 1959 — 300,000 people had to be relocated. The water has helped protect it from environmental erosion, leaving its 265 arches, five city gates, and ornamental carvings, which date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, almost perfectly preserved.

    Ancient Underwater City Submerged in China&aposs Qiandao Lake

    Beneath the water in the China's Qiandao Lake lies a hidden treasure. The ancient city of Shi Cheng (also known as Lion City), located in the province of Zhejiang, has been submerged underwater for 53 years. Shi Cheng was founded about 1,300 years ago in a valley surrounded by the Five Lion Mountains. When the Chinese government decided they needed a new hydroelectric power station, a dam and man-made lake were constructed and the city was left at the bottom of this new body of water. Now, it sits at a depths ranging from 85 feet to about 131 feet.

    Much like the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru, this underwater city remained forgotten until some renewed interest lead to its rediscovery. Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism thought about utilizing Shi Cheng for entertainment on the lake and as a destination for diving clubs. On September 18, 2001, scuba divers made their first attempt underwater. “We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick,” Qui told Guangzhou Daily in an interview. More research was conducted, and it was discovered that the entire town was intact, including wooden beams and stairs. After the initial findings, international archaeologists and a a film crew recorded the preservation of the lost ruins.

    Looking at surface of the lake, dotted with over 1,000 islands, you'd never know that an entire city was below. It's incredible to think that after all this time, the structure still remains intact and we could one day visit it. Until then, Shi Cheng will continue to remain inconspicuously submerged.

    via [Fubiz, Love These Pics, and Amusing Planet]

    The Chinese underwater city of Shi Cheng

    Deep inside the Qiandao Lake in the Zhejiang Province of China, 400 km (250 miles) south of Shanghai, lies the ancient submerged city of Shi Cheng (Lion City). The city was built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25–200) and was first set up as a county in AD 208. The city was named Chi Cheng from the nearby Wu Shi Mountain, located just behind the city.

    The valley surrounding the city was flooded in 1959 to create the Qiandao lake (also known as Thousand Island lake) for the Xin’an River Dam project. Nearly 300,000 people had to relocate for the project, some of whom had families that had lived in the area for centuries.

    The Lion City was rediscovered in 2001 when the Chinese government organised an expedition to find the remains of the ancient metropolis. In 2011, the Chinese National Geography published some never-before-seen photographs and illustrations which raised international interest for the lost city, with many calling it “the Atlantis of the East”.

    Today, Shi Cheng remains submerged at a depth of 26-40 meters (85- 131 feet) and measures about half a square kilometer (123 acres). Expeditions have revealed that the city had five entrance gates, as opposed to the traditional four – with two western-facing gates as well as gates in the other cardinal directions. The city’s wide streets also have 265 archways, featuring preserved stonework of lions, dragons, phoenixes and historical inscriptions, some of which date back as far as 1777.

    Even though it is submerged, Shi Cheng has remained well preserved as the water actually protects the ruins from wind, rain and sun erosion. The city isn’t yet fully mapped so the diving into it is considered exploratory and limited to only advanced divers who can visit it between April and November.

    Interesting Facts About Shi Cheng

    • The remains of the city are in excellent condition to this day – The water that was used in submerging the city did not have any corrosive chemicals and it was not favorable to marine life growth. That is why up until today, the city of Shi Cheng remains to be in pristine condition.
    • Even the wood structures in the city are impeccably preserved – Most of us are probably aware that it is not often that wood survives the fragmentation process especially if it’s submerged in water. However, the wooden structures in Shi Cheng is an exception because they are still perfectly preserved, and most experts believe that it is because of the water condition and lack of underwater organisms and wildlife. In some way, the water helped in preserving the priceless artifacts and history of what once was a bustling city.
    • Most architectural structures in Shi Cheng contains Mythology – Most of the architecture surrounding of Shi Cheng depicts its resident’s beliefs, which is why these structures are able to tell how the temples were used back in the city’s heyday. Even if the colors of the city have faded, the archways and statues still remained to be intact.
    • The city still has not been mapped out completely – Even if it’s not the largest city in the world, Shi Cheng’s underwater remnants is still not fully mapped out. Experts say that it would take several years for divers to slowly cover every area of the city. This includes noting each structure, building, archway, home, and roads. Keep in mind that the whole city have been preserved and submerged in water, this means that there are a handful of structures and buildings that have to be explored.
    • The water temperature and the city’s full submersion are accountable for the city’s preservation – Even if it seems that sinking an entire city that was so rich in history was not the smartest move, the idea of using a man-made water source to sink it may have been a good move. Since the water temperature remains the same and never fluctuates, the structures in the city may not weaken anytime soon.
    • China had plans of launching submarine tours to the city – At some point, China thought that it would be a great idea to have the city of Shi Cheng opened to the general public for viewing purposes. But, all the plans were ticked off in fear that the frequency of the tour would damage the city.
    • Amazingly, the water in the lake is not the clearest water for diving – Even if there’s no marine life in the lake, the visibility in the water is quite low. This is more likely because of the ground composition and dirt that existed in the city before it was flooded. Aside from this, debris and dust from the ancient structures also contributed to the cloudiness of the water. This is one of the reasons why only experienced divers are allowed to explore Shi Cheng.

    Shi Cheng used to be one of the most powerful cities in all of China – Around 25 to 200 AD, Shi Cheng was known to be the most powerful empire in China. That is why its eventual flooding became a historical tragedy. History from both Qing and Ming dynasties was sunken along with the city.

    The ancient underwater Lion City of China - History

    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]

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    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) 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. Photo #3 by Dragon Moon Bay Hotel

    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

    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

    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

    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 Chinese National Geography released images taken by archaeologists/divers rediscovering the the underwater ‘lost’ city. Photo #8 by Chinese National Geography

    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

    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, as seen while crossing one of the Thousand Lake Islands. Photo #11 by lenhz

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

    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

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

    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. Photo #17 by le niners

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

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

    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. Photo #22 by Dale Ellerm

    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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    82 Responses to “Lost Underwater Lion City: Rediscovery of China’s ‘Atlantis’”

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    Thank you so much for your posting. It is fantastic.

    Thank you so much these series of Lion city are not only interesting from all points of view but amazingly impressive,the beauty of it through the years is unbelievable! I really enjoy this kind of emails please send more pictures.

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

    […] Love These Pics (contiene anche tantissime informazioni extra, non solo immagini!) […]

    As fotos são lindas,tantas há tantas nesse nosso universo, que as vez não parece reaL

    Looks beautiful, but too new to have been underwater since 1950’s

    I disagree because even though it looks new, that was because they brightened up the picture.

    It has only been underwater since mid 1950’s, although the article states that the city was founded 1300 years ago. This IS a historic site. Lee, this is not ‘too new’ to appreciate. What beautiful carvings and I bet a history to match!

    What Cb mentioned was that the Qiandao City was built around 1300 years ago, but was submerged for the hydro-electric development since the 1950’s.

    It shows zero respect for one’s own heritage. Flooding an ancient city is a dumb idea. I’m pretty sure they could have either moved it or built the dam upstream. But hey it’s not the party’s history.

    SOOO AMAZING… What A pity I have not seen that during my stay in Beijing in 1978 to 1981…
    why have they not promoted this Beautiful phenomenal Scenic beauty of CHINA when I lived there….
    Hmmmmmmmmm More to discover about China!

    @Marlyn Kragh. Thanks for your fake comment. What’s your Chinese name? It’s evident from your writing that you, Ranjan Singh, and Eleanor Emilio are not real people. These are probably party members making sure everything in China looks like a good idea.

    Let’s face it, submerging ruins is a dumb idea. You can talk about development all you want but one thing developed countries know is how not to do it at the cost of losing their identity.

    she said she lived there for a few years,,never said she was chinese,,you must have air between your ears. if you cant be nice–be nothing—

    It appears dumb, and in many senses it was dumb to submerge a city. But in 1959 China was under the Communist rule, and under the tyrannical leaders of the time, they did not appreciate their heritage, and their slogan was then “out with the old, in with the new”. But there was a call for that, because in many quarters, a lot of Chinese elite were riding on old policies, collecting art and had ‘refined’ and wasteful lifestyles while the mass proletariat suffered. Hence when the “out with the old, in with the new” policy came in, it was welcomed by the masses as they were hungry, and such beauty in architecture do not feed them, or bring them modern conveniences. Such heritage and art had become a symbol that robbed them of their basic survival needs hence they had no sentiment to attempt to keep them. To others, they find it too commonplace (for them at least) that they do not treasure them.
    I can think of many examples elsewhere when heritage buildings were destroyed, just for contemporary architects to leave their mark, creating monstrosities that one get sick of looking at just after a year. That I feel is a more heinous act. Many developed countries are guilty of this, just that it is not publicised.
    One needs to understand the history – and not make sweeping generalisations. There are some Chinese who realised what a mistake it was, and instead of blaming, they are trying to salvage it the best way they can, so please show some respect for them.

    Your post is much appreciated . We must think alike or if not entirely than at least We do on this one topic- this was made very clear to Me as Your words mirror the ones that filled my own head
    in the moments after I had viewed all of the images and then read what the others had already written here in this comments section so I just wanted to say Thank You for the post You wrote because You hit on all of the most important points which needed to be included in this conversation.

    It’s awesome and was a treat to eyes.. as stated above it is obviously a time capsule that will be of great help for the archaeologists and historians in far future. I an Ranjan from India.

    I think if the clouds in the picture are manufactured as well, man and what about the sun and I think I swallowed my tongue.

    China has so many historic sites, if we want to keep all of them, then it’s impossible that China can become a developed country.



    If you know anything about China’s history of long periods of flood and drought, you would understand that to preserve life itself, some sacrifices have to be made such as dam over areas including historical sites. Just look at the number of historical sites submerged by the new Yangtse River Project.

    In the “developed” countries, you just DON’T HAVE anything of worth or historical interest to submerge. However, this does not preclude you from tearing down Roman walls to build cheap shelters or using some of the ancient temples in Egypt as dwellings whereby their cooking fumes completely blackened the roofs of said temples, and such like. So there you are.

    If China was to blindly follow the “Developed Countries”, they would be like the West now, broke and need bailing out every other week.

    Thanks to that dam, China has nothing of historical worth anymore. Everything in the name of the mighty war machine the party intends to use against the Free World. A weak attempt at “submerging” the ideas and dreams of free peoples everywhere.

    China has plenty of historical sites, relics and more despite the damming of
    the River. How you link that with “war machines etc” is difficult to fathom.

    Anyway, save up and come over to visit and see for yourself. Even with your negative attitude towards this country, you would still be welcomed.

    My comments are linked to comments made by party members such as yourself who use Anglo names in an attempt to create favourable illusions through the point of view of a non-Chinese. If China decides to become a free country in my lifetime I will visit her. Until the government stops going after artists and students I will keep a safe distance from such a place. I think Japan or Australia would be better places to visit.

    Initially I thought your dislike of China was due to distrust but I can see now that you are paranoid about this country. In the course of your comments, you have insulted everyone who doesn’t share your viewpoint by calling them non-people or imitators etc., or party-members. I myself don’t see any need to prove anything to you. Let the facts speak for itself. But perhaps you are already in an advanced state of being brainwashed that you would not let the facts get in the way of good anti-China propaganda.

    You claim that China wants to submerge ideas and dreams of free people everywhere. Let me say this. If you believe, whoever and wherever you are, that you are free, then you are sadly mistaken. However one thing is for certain, you are certainly not free to walk all over China as you and your kind did in the past. Ask yourself, has China ever invaded your country or did your country invaded China in the past. Domestically, certain sectors of the country are paranoid like you for enemies from within and the country is not unaware of the rest of the world thinks. However, when was the last time that China commented unfavourably about what your country did to your own people?

    Have no fear, China does not want to control suppress or in anyway harm you. In fact, China just want to trade with you or sell you inexpensive goods as opposed to cheap goods, because let’s admit it, that’s all you can afford these days and probably even have to pay for same on credit.

    Finally, if you hate the country so much, what made you tune in to view the submerged city in the first place? Not that you don’t have a right to, of course. So do some research, read more and let’s learn to debate without getting too personal with everyone.

    I am not born in China. My forefathers migrated to eke out a living elsewhere and when China became Communist, they did not go back. I was raised in a so called democratic country that was very fearful of the Communist threat, hence I grew up indoctrinated with anti-Chinese and anti-Communistic teachings. Yet when I grew older and read more about that period of Chinese history, I began to understand more. I learnt not to judge when decisions and choices do not fit my own set of values, as I then realise that we do not choose our country of birth, and often we do not choose where grow up, and for a lot of us as adults, we do not have a choice as to which country we choose to live in. And our values and viewpoints are affected by what is around us.
    Even in a very liberal country, the liberalism has resulted in undesirable elements as well. Before throwing stones, one should look closely at one’s own house. If one looks hard enough, one will realise that it is made of glass.

    Mighty war machine to use against the Free World.
    Are you smoking something??
    I’d rather a Chinese Empire than an American, anyday.
    One seeks to grow by trade, the other to grow by death and theft.

    I agree with You Richard. I understand that my having been born in the united states makes me an “american” however I really cannot think of any time in recent history when I have actually felt any personal pride in that fact. Instead, I find myself disagreeing with just about everything coming out of the U.S and the actions taken by our government. On a different note though I do find myself being constantly impressed by China and therefore I am rooting for them to come out on top in the whole scheme of things as far as nations go…

    are you serious? china has TONS of historical sites. You just a racist hater.

    australia is not broke,,and the history is mostly natural wonders,,not made by men,,
    but i marvel at what the chinese have achieved and taught the world over hundreds of centuries,
    but please dont include the antipodes with the northern western world. we are very different,,come visit,,

    glad that china have something to rely on plus show its strength at appropriate time-kudos.

    Show your strength by making a better Chinese to English translator. You can’t that’s why we have to make it for you.

    Beautiful. Fantastic.
    Perhaps those days China did not have the resources, otherwise the City could have been lifted out before flooding the area.

    I hope the beautiful senses of tranditional cultures ( the life philosophy

    arts cultures, including architectures, chinese calligraphy, paintings, any carvings … etc. )of China can be viewed and learnt again over the world.
    The 5,000 years of human history has her deep foundation of cultures, those are the incredible treasures of the human world …

    I can’t wait to see the video. I’m curious, all those man made islands, they kind of look like Chinese text (from aerial view) or symbols, has anyone gave them a serious look?

    Beautiful pictures of ancient preserved city.
    There is no need to post negative comments.
    To criticize is easy but to move forward from the ruins of civil wars & wars of invasions,
    centuries of stagnant advancement, is a very different story.
    Right or wrong, every country made deccisions to suit and learn from past inconveniences

    Beautiful pictures have nothing to do with a totalitarian regimes ill-conceived notions of what is necessary and at what costs it should be done. No participation of the people and corruption throughout the system. They build new cities that go abandoned or topple over from poor construction. They lock their workers into long work hours and inhouse dormitories. I understand how one group can enslave another for being different. But only China has been able to enslave their own for being the same. Run them over with tanks for wanting to be free. No innovation. No creativity past what has already been done. And a desire to bury their heritage under a lot of water. You won’t be able to defend China until she is truly free. China isn’t free.

    Wow, Oh, Wow – forget the political jabber – – – appreciate the absolutely fantastic amazing photos, videos of the Lost Underwater Lion City. I would truly enjoy seeing the television broadcast of the exploration of this ancient city, lisiten to the experiences of the divers, learn more about Lion City’s history, especially why it was decided to have five gates instead of the customery four and certainly there must be a unique story behind the name of Lion Mountain! Certainly the country’s decision to flood Lion City was most difficult. Thank you for introducing me to this unique historical site, and look forward to many more photos and video of Lion City – – – hopefully a video of the television broadcast. Thank you and enjoy life to it’s fullest. js

    Simply amazing. Pictures are so clear, of this wll preserved site. Plan to visit it sometime soon. Thanks for sharing.

    Simply A M A Z I N G . It’s a pity that such beautiful, ancient, historical entire city to be flood for the modern needs of electricity. I had never heard about this wonderful site. It is difficult to understand that such historical entire city had to disappear and that nowadays so many attention is given to higher, bigger, larger sky-scrapers or bridges… I only can regret such things happen without the world knowing about it. It is a great luck that one now can see those lost beauties thanks to modern diving technics.

    So amazingly beautiful ….. makes me want to visit this place one day. Thanks for sharing.

    The “chinese abroad” is only partly right in his defense of china. Did he forget it was not in 1959 the the yanzhe river was flooded and destroyed invaluable chinese history and entire cities were flooded forever to be lost! This was a relatively recent event. Has he been to cities like Shanghai recently? They are TODAY destroying chinese history and relocating residents who have lived in the same houses and neighborhoods for generations. And to compare china’s policies to ‘developed” countries is at best naive if not total lies and ignorance.

    I think the arcitecture is AMAZINGLY detailed and well presrrved! I’d LOVE to have a fraction of a wall to showcase in my collection!!……….BEAUTIFUL***

    Whoah! This is just AMAZING. I want to visit this place. It’s just so sad that something like this is now under the sea.

    Interesantes y bellas imágenes. Gracias.

    […] 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 […]

    This is great news for scuba divers like me. What an awesome find. A truly marvelous ‘Chinese Atlantis’ in near-pristine condition at the bottom of a lake. Ironically, flooding the area was probably the best thing that the provincial government could have done to preserve this ancient city. Freshwater can preseve anything, including 13,000 year old human remains in cenotes in Mexico. I imagine there had been some restoration work done on the facade of the main gate in the intervening 1,750 years since Shi Cheng was first built. This probably explains why the stone carvings still look fresh and in good condition. That this is freshwater and not saltwater of course contributes to the preservation too.

    The size of this place seems pretty large and I imagine those divers have a great deal to explore. I am utterly jealous of those divers.

    […] 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 […]

    […] Amazing pics and an even more amazing discovery. This is the remnants of a city in a lake in Zhejiang province. It’s a fascinating sight, though it seems it was already known when it was flooded (the lake was artificially created from the construction of a dam). […]

    Facts about Shicheng – China’s Underwater Lion City

    China’s 1300-year-old underwater city, Shicheng, is one of the places that can come close to be the lost city, Atlantis. However, we know definitely that is not Atlantis that treasure hunters are tirelessly searching for centuries.

    No one will find buildings that are structured with golden bricks in Shicheng city as it was believed to be the case in Atlantis. Instead, divers can see deserted, rather intentionally flooded marvelous China’s city, which gave up its liveliness in the year 1959.

    Here are the 10 facts about Shicheng city you may find interesting.

    1. Shicheng city was built during the Eastern Hand Dynasty ( 25-200 AD). Therefore, the underwater city includes several ancient structures and buildings that reflect the rich Chinese craftsmanship.
    1. Shicheng is also called the Lion city. Because it locates near the Five Lion Mountains, or as locals call it Wu Shi mountain, in China.
    2. The man-made lake Qiandao was intentionally created during the construction of Hin’an river dam to enable the operation of the hydroelectric power station. Now, the lake covers the ancient city completely, and only allows it to exist beneath its 131 feet turquoise water.
    1. Shicheng, the Lion city, once was the center for political and economic activities of the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang.

    There Is A 1300 Years Old Ancient City Under A Lake In China Where Time Travel Is Believed Possible.

    by Unbelievable Facts May 14, 2014, 9:30 pm Comments Off on There Is A 1300 Years Old Ancient City Under A Lake In China Where Time Travel Is Believed Possible.

    Lion city still retains its stable position even after being submerged under Lake Qiandao since 1959.

    In February 2013, exquisite pictures were published by the Chinese National Geographic Magazine showing Shicheng City (Lion City). The city is nearly 1339 years of age and located in Zhejiang Province, East China. In 1959, the city was submerged under Lake Qiandao so that the Xin’an River Hydropower Station could be constructed.

    Image source:

    The city was named ‘time capsule’ by international archeologists. It has been able to maintain its stable condition since it’s shielded from erosion by rain, wind and sun. This makes it a virtual time vessel. As seen from the pictures, shicheng city walls, stairs, ancient houses, wooden beams and memorial arches are still in the same condition they were a thousand years ago.

    wooden structures remain surprisingly strong. Image source:

    The city was named after Wu Shi Mountain (Five Lion Mountain) and was at one time the center of economics, politics and culture of the Sui’an County. Sui’an county history writes that there was a total of 265 arches submerged under the Qiandao lake. Some of this have the fine Jie Xiao Memorial Arch carvings still preserved.

    Intricate carvings engraved on buildings. Image source:

    The restored map of the city shows five gates in all directions. Each of the city gates has a city gate tower and every corner of the Lion city is connected by six streets. Stone roads that are typical in this city have been tidily paved with pebbles and flagstones.

    The traditional engravings. Image source:

    Archaeologists who rediscovered Shicheng (Lion City) dubbed it as “Atlantis rediscovered’. The city location is now about 26-40 meters (85 -131 feet) beneath Qiandao Lake. The valley had to be submerged in water so that a dam could be constructed. Scattered around the lake are some large and small islands that are man-made. Shicheng city is approximately 62 football fields in size.

    There is a chain of over 1,078 man-made large islands and a few thousand smaller ones at Qiandao Lake. Image source:

    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, but it was unsuccessful”

    A restoration picture of Shicheng city in east China’s Zhejiang Province. Image source:

    1. Threats

    Shicheng lay blissfully underwater for more than 50 years, its architecture, including the wooden structures and its streets protected from both human and natural elements. Now, it has been found and is being subjected to human activity. With best intentions and in the name of progress, Shicheng is being promoted as an underwater museum, but authorities need to preserve the city at the same time. Some experts suggested pumping water out of the city and building another protective wall, but it was deemed costly and the waters would not be able sustain the water pressure outside. In fact, two loose wooden beams, after being removed and exposed to air, began to shrink, proving that water preserves the wood better.

    A 23.6 meters high, 3.8 meters tall submarine was constructed at a cost of US$ 6.36 million, with a seating capacity of 48 for underwater sightseeing. However, it was later known that local laws did not permit submarines to operate in inland waters and there are no rules to regulate civil submarines. Even if it had been approved, the strong water flows from the underwater vehicle may damage the buildings. A railway development project for the area was abandoned as it was considered harmful for the overall ecology and the natural sights of Qiandao Lake.

    Watch the video: Ancient Abandoned Underwater City. Lion City SHOCKING (May 2022).