Shi Cheng: China’s Lost Underwater City

The stories of ancient ruins, forgotten lands and lost cities have always fascinated the current world, because with these findings came stories of past cultures and astonishing facts.

Of all the lost underwater cities, the lost city of Atlantis remains at the top of everybody’s minds but that doesn’t blind the daring explorers from seeing things that are new and just as thrilling. China’s Shi Cheng city is one of them.

In 2001, archaeologists found ruins of an ancient city at the bottom of Qingdao Lake in China. It’ bronze walls and heavy doors that were built 1,300 years ago were still kept intact even after years of being submerged under the lake. The city’s labyrinth of gorgeous temples, heavy golden gates, memorial arches and dragon carvings gave the lake an eerie beauty. A perfect spot for adventure lovers, curious hearts, and divers.

This city of Shi Cheng, dubbed in English as “Lion City” was situated between the Five Lion mountains and was once a political and economic hub in the Eastern Province of Zhejiang. However, in 1959 the government of China wanted to build the first Chinese dam for a hydroelectric power station. After vacating almost 30,000 people from the place, they flooded the entire city, sinking it 130 feet under the water now known as Qindao Lake.


By sitting at the dark bed of the lake, the city was protected from the sun, wind and rain which caused the entire Shi Cheng to remain surprisingly well preserved even after 59 years. Not even the slightest of erosion has scarred the city’s walls. Even the wooden beams and stairs had stayed completely intact. Archaeologists had nicknamed this place as a ‘time capsule’ with tourists and divers able to see the city’s stone works that are believed to be dated back all the way to the 16th century.

Today, advanced divers can swim around and explore the ruins of Shi Cheng. But since its submerged under 40 meters with no light, it is limited to divers with night and deep water diving experience.


Shi Cheng is now nicknamed as the Atlantis of The East where explorers can travel back in time and touch the amazing gates of a city that once thrived in Imperial China.

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