Pavlopetri is an anonymous  village in front of the Île aux Cerfs, Elafonisos in Greek, where a sensational archeological discovery occurred in the 60’s.

An ancient submerged city whose topography had remained almost entirely visible after 5,000 years of history

The extremely ancient city, renamed Pavlopetri in modern times but completely unaware of what the original one was, spreads at a depth of approximately 4 mt (13 ft), and it is thought to be the oldest submerged city ever found in the Mediterranean,  oldest in the world only after Dwarka in India.

The urban area dates back to 3000 BC and includes roads, two floors houses with gardens, temples, a cemetery and an advanced water management system with a drains and water pipes. At the centre of the place there is a city square measuring 40×20 mt (130×65 ft), place of discussion for the citizens and in it majestic palaces with up to 12 rooms each. The quality of the urbanistic project has been evaluated as way above to many of the even current modern dwellings.

Pavlopetri is so old to the point that it was already ancient at the time of the “heroes” described by Homer in the Iliad, set in the Mycenaean era around the 1600 BC. Although Pavlopetri was discovered half a century ago already, only in 2009 some specific researches were forwarded; thanks to them the team found out that the area, of approximately 9 hectares (around 900,000 square ft) was inhabited already in 2800 BC and subsequently swallowed by the waters during the 1000 BC due to a devastating earthquake.

Despite the tragic devastation, the city plan is still visible and 15 are the buildings which have been identified. Professor John Henderson from Nottingham University, has led the most thorough studies over the city, managing to rebuild in 3D graphics the city with its buildings, possible to watch at the end of this article.

The historians estimate that the city was a commercial junction between the Minoan society, the Island of Crete and the Mycenaean one in the not too far away Argolis. Throughout the whole site there have been found containers made of clay for the storage of goods, statues, tools of daily use and other artifacts, especially the “Pithari”, oil jars certainly coming from Crete. Beside that Pavlopetri must have been also an important center of textile production, deduction coming from the recovery of many weights of looms found in the place.

Below: picture by Spiridon Ion Cepleanu shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons 3.0

The ruins of the city are today threatened by the beauty of the place itself. The Île aux Cerfs and the Pouda Beach are frequented areas both by tourists looking for souvenirs  and by ships of different types that with their anchors put at risk the priceless seabed and the integrity of the topography of its ruins.

Below: a documentary from the BBC

Below: video from the Nottingham University

Below: from the pictures of the beach it is possible to understand that the ruins are basically invisible even with the crystal clear water of the Ionian sea

Below: the position of Pavlopetri, in front of the Pouda Beach on Google Maps

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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