STUNNING underwater pictures appear to reveal the real-life Atlantis – with eerie ancient mosaics and moss-coated statues lying on the sea bed.
Immersed in the sea due to the Earth’s volcanic activity, the lost city of Baia is a unique underwater archaeological wonder near Napoli, Italy.
Stunning pictures clicked by photographer Franco Banfi during his dive reveal the secrets of the sunken Roman city that has laid still underwater for hundreds of years.
Multiple statues – likely of some great Roman men – can be seen lying around with moss covering their entire bodies.
Other pictures reveal the ancient mosaics that can be seen adorning the sea floor.
Beautiful portrayals of figures like fish and Roman fighters can be seen etched on the floors.
But with crumbling structures and broken walls now painting the underwater scene of Baia, it once used to be a hot spot for visitors from the kingdom of Rome.
Historians suggest that Baia served as the recreational spot for the rich and powerful among the Roman elite.
Some of the Roman Empire’s most powerful people, such as Nero, Cicero, and Caesar were known to have visited the city several times – with some of them building their villas.
According to legends, the city – which once sat over natural volcanic vents – was famous for its healing medicinal hot springs which occurred all around the city and were quite easy to build spas over.
“Baia was built from 100 BC to 500 AD over natural volcanic vents and was famous for its healing medicinal hot springs and spas.
“Some of history’s most powerful figures such as emperors Nero, Cicero, and Caesar were known to have visited the city and some of them actually built permanent vacation villas there,” Franco said.
What is the lost city of Atlantis?
THE legend of Atlantis is a story about a Utopian civilisation that existed thousands of years ago.
Told by philosopher Plato, the story describes a city made up of islands connected by water and overrun with gold, silver and exotic animals.
The people living there became greedy and immoral, and the gods punished them by sending fire and earthquakes – causing Atlantis to sink into the sea.
It has sat there since, some parts preserved on the seabed, forever lost.
Some have suggested Atlantis existed in the Mediterranean, off the Spanish coast, or even in Antarctica.
But most people don’t believe Atlantis – which apparently existed 9,000 years before Plato himself – was real.
While volcanic eruptions and huge floods have happened over the course of history – most scientists do not think a mythical city of immoral ancient people fell pray to one, sinking to the bottom of the sea.
During the eighth century, however, the once-Roman city was brutally sacked by Islamic invaders – and was destroyed to its core.
Eventually, the remains of the formerly luxurious town were abandoned – and the whole place was left to rot.
And the legendary city of Baia met an ironic and unforgiving fate.
After the city remains were emptied, the water level slowly started to rise due to the same volcanic vents that once attracted great Roman men towards the stunning city – eventually swallowing the entire place.
While the city is no longer a resort, it is still a fascinating piece of Roman history – and ancient remains of Baia can be visited by tourists.
And the crumbled structures and amazingly preserved statuary of the copious ruins can be toured through glass boats or scuba diving.