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Where Was Atlantis?

Updated on June 3, 2013
Rendering of the remains of Atlantis as imagined by a theme park.
Rendering of the remains of Atlantis as imagined by a theme park. | Source

Where was Atlantis? Many have asked this question and many have formulated theories to answer the question. According to legend, Atlantis was a city that existed in ancient times And was home to an advanced civilization. The entire city and civilization was lost during a cataclysmic event. Many questions remain about Atlantis, whether it really existed and where exactly it was located remain mysteries.

History of Atlantis

Atlantis was first mentioned in the writings “Timaeus” and “Critias” by the philosopher Plato. It was described as an island that was home to a powerful civilization and great naval power. Based on the information Plato gives in his writings, Atlantis would have existed around 9600 B.C. With regard to location, the island of Atlantis could be found “in front of the pillars of Hercules.” According the Plato, the island of Atlantis and its inhabitants were lost to a great catastrophe, which caused the island to sink into the ocean.

Location of Atlantis According to Plato

Plato’s writings about Atlantis have sparked the curiosity and inspired the imagination of many in both ancient and modern times. Since the time of Plato, opinions vary regarding whether or not Atlantis actually existed. If Atlantis was really located where Plato indicated, it would have existed near the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. According to Plato’s description, Atlantis was large island, bigger than Asia Minor.

Modern explorers, historians, and archaeologists often focus coastal Spain and northern Africa as a point of exploration in seeking the lost island. As recently as 2002 and 2011, expeditions have been led in this area. In that expedition, French historian Jacques Collina-Girard pinpointed the location of Atlantis in the Strait of Gibraltar. The theory was further supported by a U.S.-led expedition to the same area in 2011. It was in this location that a chain of islands was lost under the sea when melting glaciers at the end of the ice age caused massive flooding and an elevated sea level. In spite of Plato’s writings, other historians and archaeologists point to other locations around the world as the site where Atlantis was lost.

Thira as the Location of Atlantis

One of the most popular theories regarding the location of Atlantis, besides the Strait of Gibraltar theory, is the idea that the island was located in the Aegean Sea near the island of Thira. Thira is part of the archipelago of Santorini, some of Greece’s most beautiful landscapes. Sometime in the 16th century BC, a large volcanic eruption rocked the Aegean Sea, resulting in a large chunk of Thira disappearing under the sea.

This theory remains popular, as the portion of the island that was lost was home to the city of Akrotiri. Akrotiri had been settled by the Minoans and had been well-known for its advanced city design, which included complex drainage system, tall buildings, and artwork.

Mid-Atlantic Ocean as the Location of Atlantis

Others theorize that Atlantis was located in the Atlantic Ocean. Some speculate that it was once a part of the Azores Islands, located off the coast of Portugal. This area is home to numerous underwater volcanoes. While many believe that this is the location of the lost city, scientific evidence indicates that the undersea formations thought to be the remnants of Atlantis have been formed too recently to jibe with the historical information about its demise.

Additional theories exist that place Atlantis off near Bermuda. Many believe that the infamous mysteries happenings and disappearances associated with the Bermuda Triangle are related to Atlantis. Proponents of this theory often cite the so-called “Bimini Road”, a formation located under sea off the island of Bermuda. Scuba divers in the region stumbled across what appears to be a man-made road structure submerged in the water. However, no one has been able to produce any evidence that the structure was made rather than the result of a natural occurrence.

Many theories abound as to the location of the lost city of Atlantis. Still others doubt that it existed at all. No matter your opinion, it is fun to read about the lost civilization and what it might have been.

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    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      I read different articles devoted to this subject and I am sure it is totally lost for us. The planet changed so.much since the Plato's time . Even if it was on land it is covered with a dozen meters of soil.

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      Annabelle Tyler 4 years ago

      Thanks, Georgie. It really is fascinating to wonder about it.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 4 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      I almost hope that we never do find Atlantis. It's so much fun to wonder about it - the reality would never be as awesome as our imaginations. Thank you for this great Hub!