In Pictures: Exploring the Ancient Sunken Cities of Egypt’s Mediterranean Coast

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Egypt’s ancient heritage is no secret, but there are still many hidden wonders that are rarely explored. Enter Egypt’s ancient sunken cities, Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, both located off the coast of Alexandria in Abu Qir Bay, near the Nile Delta.

First discovered in 1933 by an RAF commander, and explored more extensively in 2000 by French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio, the two ancient cities date back to the 12th-6th Century BCE. Once major Mediterranean ports and hubs for trade, Heracleion and Canopus witnessed Egyptian, Greek and Roman rule before being lost to the sea around the 2nd Century BCE.

Now the two sunken cities are being transformed into underwater museums, a joint mission between UNESCO and several NGOs to preserve and showcase the rich collection of artifacts that have been discovered over the past two decades. Goddio estimates that only about 5% of the ancient delta cities has been found until now.

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