Ghost towns and buildings are creepy and at the same time fascinating. It’s interesting to imagine what life was like before they were abandoned and often you get clues from what had been left behind. Imagine then the extra interest created by the abandoned settlement or building being under water. These are some that have that certain extra chilly thrill.
Often referred to as "China's Atlantis," Lion City is an underwater ghost town slumbering one hundred feet below the surface of the China's Qiandao Lake (Thousand Island Lake). Built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-200 CE), Lion City stretches for ca. 62 football fields. Although clearly a historical treasure of worldwide importance, the Chinese authorities flooded it in the 1950s as part of their dam-building program. It has become such a popular diving destination that officials are now finally seeing its importance, considering its awesome stone structures and carvings as a tourist destination to be exploited in the future.
Halfway across the world another dam project submerged the ancient Portuguese village of Vilarinho da Furna in 1972. Dating back to Roman times, the village comprised of 80 houses inhabited by 300 residents prior to submersion. Eerily, the underwater ghost buildings reappear every so often when water levels drop. The houses still belong to the descendants of the original villagers, who took all their belongings, including roof tiles and rocks, to build their new homes. A small museum, built from the original rocks, commemorates the village as it once was.
The only underwater ghost building of the submerged town of Old Petrolandia in Brazil that shows once in a while is the church. Every so often, when water levels drop, the church's vaulted roof peeps out from the floods. It may look ancient and mysterious, but it's actually not that old and certainly not enchanted. Before the town was submerged to make way for the construction of a new hydroelectric dam, photos were taken of the town and church - it was an unremarkable settlement with a fairly mundane church.
Another victim of dam-building frenzy thanks to over-generous foreign aid was the town of Potosi, which saw its residents relocated in 1985 before the town became submerged in favor of a hydroelectric dam. For the next two decades, the only thing visible was a single cross on top of a church. However, in 2010, the water levels began to drop, slowly revealing an underwater ghost town with a gothic church that was just as covered in mildew as the cross on its tower.
Peeping out from the centre of Man Sagar Lake, the once magnificent Water Palace of Jaipur is of mysterious age since no records exist as to its original construction. It is believed the palace is at least 300 years old and stood there before damming resulted in the forming of the lake. Only its lower four stories are submerged. At times, when the lake's water level is at its highest, only the top floor can be reached with a boat. Floodlights illuminate the underwater ghost building at night. Thanks to recent restoration, the water palace is now open to visitors.
The alpine village of Curon Venosta was submerged by the waters of Lago di Resia soon after WWII ended. Officials had decided to combine three pre-existing lakes into one large one to create, you've guessed it, yet another hydroelectric dam. The little town comprised of 163 houses and almost 1,300 acres of fruit orchards. Today only its 14th-century bell tower shows. It was left unharmed while the rest of the underwater ghost buildings were filled with sand prior to submersion. When the lake freezes over, the bell tower can be reached on foot. It serves as a memorial.
Between 1930 and 1939, when the mighty Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts was created, four townships vanished from the face of the Earth. The Quabbin Reservoir is now the largest inland body of water in the state, supplying Boston and 40 other communities with 412 billion gallons of drinking water. The embittered residents of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott, the four towns flooded in the process, fought bravely against the reservoir but could not prevent the loss of their homes and their heritage. Only the cellars were left intact and one can still see the old roads that once led to the towns to the right of the water's edge. Parts of underwater ghost town Dana can now be visited, as this town, as well as parts of Greenwich, lie a little higher within the reservoir and peep out when water levels drop.
Are you fascinated by ghost towns? Which of these would you like to visit?
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