Lost City's Underwater Remains
For hundreds of years, the city of Alexandria was the golden capital of Greece. Bearing one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World as her beacon to sailors for a hundred miles, the Lighthouse of Alexandria on Pharos, she was a haven for fishermen, Hebrews, Greeks and their gods.
Before the discovery and development of the city by Alexander the Great, the area was the village of Rhakotis. It was likely a fishing village, but the significance of Rhakotis is the subject of some debate. While the Greek claim the city as historically "Greek", there is evidence it may have more of an Egyptian history prior to Greek rule, as the city of Rhakotis.
After the fall of Greece, the furthermost point of the city, which had been the quarters of Cleopatra VII, gradually fell into the sea. A series of earthquakes and tidal waves left this entire section of the city underwater, where it lay for many centuries. Only in recent years have the remains been explored.
Finding Cleopatra's Lair
Underwater diving equipment and satellite technology helped French Explorer and Archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team to discover the lost portion of ancient Alexandria in 1994.
The team first had to map the site using sophisticated equipment and painstakingly go through the 5.5 acre site inch by inch. To make matters even more difficult, some of the artifacts were found on top of one another.
While some of the artifacts have been removed and are being shown on exhibitions around the world, others remain where they have been for the past 2,000 or more years. There are plans underway to build the world's first underwater museum at the site with funding from the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO.
Photo: Lawrence Alma-Tadema: Antony and Cleopatra (1885, Oil on panel. 65.5 x 92 cm)
Ancient Alexandria - With the Lighthouse out front
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was the crowning point of the city. This is how it would have been depicted not long after it was completed, during the latter years of reign of Ptolomen, King of Egypt (323 BC - 283 BC)
Map of the Underwater Artifacts as they Lay
For nearly ten months, the team collected data on each piece, which all became part of one huge computerized database. Three types of information were recorded for each registered block - written, drawn, photo and/or film.
Book 4, Homer's Odyssey
on the Bay of Rhakotis:
"Therein is a harbor with good anchorage,
whence men launch the shapely ships into the sea"
The Cleopatra Conspiracy - Was she a Murderer?
We know her own life ended in tragedy, but what about the tragic deaths of those in her family, her siblings - or would be "heirs"? It seems they all fell to a similar tragic fate. Was that too at the hands (or from the rule of) Cleopatra herself?
Pharos Lighthouse - Early Greek Drawing
Dedicated by the architect: "Sostratos of Cnidus, son of Dexiphanes, to the savior gods, for sailors"
From the web on the Ancient City of Alexandria
- Ancient "Lost" City's Remains Found Under Alexandria's Waters
The long-rumored town of Rhakotis, Egypt, did exist centuries before Alexander the Great arrived in Alexandria, according to the first evidence taken from underwater samples.
- Al-Ahram Weekly | Heritage | Alexandria before Alexander
Egyptians have allowed Greece to claim Alexandria as a Graeco-Roman legacy. Jill Kamil goes back three hundred years before the great Mediterranean capital was founded and attempts to set the record straight
- Pharos Lighthouse
Prior to its destruction, it underwent a number of modifications by later rulers. The architect was Sostratos, a Greek from the Asia Minor city of Cnidus, whose name also appears on the sanctuary of Appolo at Delphi and on Delos
- Underwater Discovery
We invite you to join us in the discovery of lost cities, submerged lands and ancient ships. We are exploring and re-constructing history and we love to share the exitement with you!
"As Alexander was sleeping, he saw a remarkable vision...an island in the stormy sea off Egypt...they call it Pharos."
The Greek biographer Plutarch on Alexander the Great's choosing Rhakotis as the location to build his great city
The Back Story on Cleopatra - and the Exhibition in Cincinnati
Antony and Cleopatra - Business Relationship? Or True Love?
To seal a contract with a sexual relationship was not uncommon for the time. Did Antony and Cleopatra really have a romantic relationship? Or were they merely business "partners"?
Elizabeth Taylor plays the immortal Cleopatra with the class she was so known for, and the gorgeous Richard Burton is her perfect Antonio....
Antony and Cleopatra - A Tragedy by William Shakespeare
Scenery and character alternating between sensual, imaginative Alexandria (Cleopatra) and the more pragmatic, austere Rome (Antony). Story based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Lives