Atlantis Tours: Bimini and Beyond, with Maps
10 Locations Tied to the Atlantis Story
Want a holiday maxed-out on myth and legend? Take this ten-point Atlantis extravaganza, and be prepared for an adventure and an education. The tour stretches from the Bahamas to the Black Sea and across twelve thousand years of humanity's past.
This is the book that started it all! Plato's two dialogs. And this is my preferred translation--by Sir Desmond Lee.
What was Atlantis? Ancient Greek philosopher, Plato (c.428-348 BC) tells us through his dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, that Atlantis was a large island in the Atlantic Ocean, just outside the Strait of Gibraltar and facing a region in Southern Spain, then called by the Phoenicians, Gadira (modern Cádiz).
The Atlantean Empire called that island home. Its people ruled over colonies in the Mediterranean, up to the Tyrrhenian Sea in the North, and up to Egypt in the South. Its colonies also stretched to the Caribbean and to the Americas. Then, about 9600 BC, the homeland collapsed, swallowed whole by the sea.
Today, Atlantis remains a taboo subject for geologists and archaeologists. Too many controversies surround the myth for professional scientists to feel comfortable, but that won't stop you, the intrepid explorer. Scientists were wrong about a lot of myths — Troy, Mycenaean Greece, Minoan Crete, Amazon warriors, and the real island of Ithaca. For the first and last of these, it took an amateur to shake things up. Until then, scientists were happy to ignore the clues found in myth.
We may not yet have direct evidence of Atlantis, but we have proof of an Atlantis-like event occurring about 9620 BC. This is the closest thing to a smoking gun in the death of Atlantis. We also have genetic, linguistic and cultural data which support the possible past reality of Atlantis.
So, what are you waiting for? Here's what you can expect on your tour.
Were these islands once colonies of Atlantis? You too may discover something unusual in the Bahamas.
Bimini Island, Bahamas
Your first stop is at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, with a day trip to Bimini and the controversial "Bimini Road." The term "road" was perhaps an unfortunate choice of a word. The structure was more likely an ancient harbor breakwater.
The original scientific article on the structure was written by an employee of the US Geological Service, though he did not have a degree in geology at the time. His initial article told how the individual beachrock blocks were varying in their orientation — some slanting toward the sea, while others slanted in other directions or possessed no slant at all. The unavoidable conclusion was that the structure was artificial or manmade.
Later articles by the same scientist changed the data and stated that the structure was entirely natural. So, if someone tells you that scientists have proven the structure to be completely natural, be skeptical of their skepticism.
There are other potential archaeological sites around Bimini Island, but professional archaeologists refuse to investigate because of a fear of losing funding. That leaves it up to careful and responsible amateurs to investigate. The sands are ever-shifting. Don't be surprised if you discover something, too.
According to Plato, Atlantis stretched from near Gibraltar into the Atlantic. At 1-2 times the size of Texas, this likely would have included the Azores. In fact, the Azores underwater plateau may well contain the ruins of the capital.
Near the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 9 Portuguese islands mark the heart of Atlantis. Two reside west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
The remainder stand on the Azores underwater plateau, along the Africa-Eurasia tectonic plate boundary. Somewhere south of these islands, the former coastal capital of Atlantis resided.
Geologists say that the Azores stand above a geological "hot spot." Yet, unlike the prototypical "hot spot" of the Pacific, underneath Hawaii, this so-called "hot spot" did not produce a neat sequence of older and older islands.
For more on a possible geological backstory, watch the following video, comparing Atlantis with the modern archipelago of the Philippines. If you want more information, check out "Geology of Atlantis."
From the main airport in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, you will fly to Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira Island. Read "New Azores Fun: Buried Treasure in Atlantis," for more on the Azores and this leg of the tour.
Spain was one of the closest places to Atlantis before it sank. It would likely have received the largest portion of its refugees.
Welcome to the oldest European city on the Atlantic coast.
Fabulous beaches and plenty of old-world charm greet you.
Some stories place the founding of the community as early as 1000 BC by the Phoenicians.
More than 8,000 years earlier, from here one might have been able to see the shores of Atlantis stretched across the horizon.
This was once called "Gadira" by its founders. Later, the Romans called it Gades, and the Moors named it Qadis.
This British province right at the tip of Spain guards the entrance to the Mediterranean. This is commonly called "The Rock" — one of the Pillars of Hercules at what was once considered the end of the Earth. Beyond this point no man dares go. Perhaps that was a gimmick perpetrated by the Phoenicians to keep others off of their turf. For awhile, the Atlantic was a jealously-guarded secret. The Romans broke that monopoly and created their own. When Atlantis ruled, this would have been the entrance to their new territories.
A cable car takes visitors from near the botanic gardens up to the peak of the Gibraltar "Rock."
The oldest European city on the Atlantic coast. This was "Gadira," mentioned by Plato, facing Atlantis.
"The Rock" - Guardian of the entrance between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.
These people may have been here for thousands of years longer than the Indo-Europeans.
Next, relax awhile in Euskal Herria — the Basque Provinces of Northern Spain and Southern France. Treat yourself to seafood from the Bay of Biscay, or lamb stew with txakoli (cha-koe-lee) sparkling wine or Basque cider, and immerse yourself in the sounds of a language unlike anything else in Europe. Basque is not related to English, Spanish, French, Italian or any of the other Indo-European languages. The people and the language are of unknown origin, yet the experts think these people have lived in this region for anywhere between 10,000 and 75,000 years. Perhaps they were the cave-painting Cro Magnons of prehistoric Western Europe.
Throughout Basque history, their women have displayed a commanding strength. This by itself proves nothing unique, but combined with their men's couvade (sympathetic pregnancy pains for their wives in labor), we have a seemingly egalitarian culture. Add to that the men's penchant for their gastronomic societies in communal txokos (choe-koes) in order to "spend time together away from the traditionally formidable matriarchs," and one has to wonder if the Basques may have had a matriarchal past.
At least 12,000 years ago, a part of the family to which the Basques belonged split apart and made their way to North America. Genetically, they are connected to the Basques through the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup X. Add to this the fact that the Basques possess the highest incidence of Rh Negative blood factor in the world. These are truly a unique people. And some have considered the possibility that the Basques and their North American cousins were from Atlantis.
Sardinia and Tyrrhenian Sea
This Italian island, second-largest in the Mediterranean after Sicily, was once part of the Carthaginian domain, until the Romans took over. Before that, mysterious round tower fortresses called nuraghi dotted the landscape, built as some scholars believe by the Shardana, one of the tribes of the "Sea People" who famously attacked Egypt during the second millennium BC. Could these Sea People have been children of Atlantis? According to Plato, Atlantis may have had colonies along the Tyrrhenian coast of Sardinia and/or Corsica. Twelve thousand years ago, Sardinia and Corsica were one island.
From Cagliari, you can travel north along the eastern coast. The old, colonial coastline stood about 200 feet (~60 meters) deeper. Somewhere along here, the colonies of Atlantis held their hope of worldwide domination. Also along here, Ulysses may have traveled and seen many strange and wonderful things, possibly from the great-grandchildren of Atlantis.
The Etruscans ("Rasenna" in their language) have a similarly enigmatic beginning to that of the Basques. There are many theories, but a lot of unknowns. Like the Basques, the Etruscans spoke an agglutinative language — a term which merely refers to how the words were put together. We do not know enough about the Etruscan language. Samples of their writing have been found only on buildings and pottery. When their neighbors, the Romans, decided to do more than remain dirt farmers, much of the Etruscan culture was lost.
One curious similarity between Basque and Etruscan commands a moment's attention. Perhaps the two most sentimentally favorite words in any language are "mother" and "father." Basque for mother (ama) is similar to Etruscan for father (apa), while Basque for father (aita) is similar to Etruscan for mother (ati). Notice the swap in gender. In the Etruscan pantheon we find a goddess (Ana, female half of the gods of beginnings) whose name almost matches Basque for mother (ama). We also find a male god (Aita, god of endings) whose name exactly matches the Basque word for father (aita). Notice the lack of gender swap. Could it be that in the prehistoric period of the god and goddess, the Etruscans were ruled by women? And when the time came to switch from matriarchy to patriarchy, could the men have become the new "mothers?"
Both the Greeks and Romans despised the Etruscans for the power they gave their women — such was the egalitarian nature of their society. But, as we suspect, it might have been the women who gave power to the men.
While you're in Tuscany, you will be treated to Tuscan cuisine, renaissance architecture and locations once walked by Galileo, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Amerigo Vespucci (after whom America was named), and many others who helped shape our modern world.
The birthplace of democracy and the basis of so much of Western culture and philosophy, Greece is a must-visit for any citizen of Earth. And Athens stood at the heart of it all. In the midst of this modern capital, the Parthenon sits as a reminder of those humble beginnings in a small country, tucked away in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Athens was the home of Plato. Along with his teacher, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped create the foundation of modern civilization. And Plato also gave us the story of Atlantis.
Birthplace of democracy and Western philosophy, Greece was home to many of the world's greatest thinkers. This is where the story of Atlantis emerged into our culture.
Myth tells us that the founder of Athens, Cecrops, was half man and half snake. He challenged his men with a naming contest, to give their new city a proper name. They decided on the goddess Athena, and named the city Athens in her honor. Could Cecrops merely have been the captain of a dragon ship, popping the hatch on top in order to address his men? The indigenous folk in attendance likely misinterpreted his appearance.
And the story of Athena's birth bears a strange resemblance to the story of Atlantis. Metis, the wisest individual of all time, was prophesied to bear the children who would one day overthrow the rule of her lover, Zeus, king of the gods. Fearful, Zeus swallowed Metis whole. Atlantis, wisest (most advanced) nation of all time, threatened to conquer the world, but was swallowed whole by the sea.
Athena was born full-grown from her father's head. She carried with her armor and weapons. The refugees of Atlantis left perhaps the head (capital) city and took with them a fully mature (full-grown) civilization into the wilderness of Europe. With them, they had the weapons and skills to protect themselves.
Is the story of Athena really a symbolic tale of Atlantis and its refugees? If so, then because of the gender of Metis and Athena, Atlantis and its refugees were likely matriarchal. This is something the patriarchal Greeks would likely have ignored or held in disbelief.
Think of the word "ancient" and likely a large percentage of people will mention Egypt. And why not? It has the pyramids, the Sphinx, Karnak and more. They may not have been the earliest civilization or the first with writing, but they did things big, Big, BIG!
The story of Atlantis originated here, in the former capital, Saïs, in the Nile Delta. An elder priest had told the story to Solon, the famous Greek statesman from Athens. He then had passed the story down within his family and to his friends.
In addition, Egyptian myth tells of some of the gods coming from an island far to the west. Could this have been Atlantis after it had submerged?
Myth also tells us of a shipwrecked Egyptian merchant prince rescued by a golden dragon (from Greek drakon, meaning "snake"). The golden dragon would sometimes appear to the prince as a dragon and sometimes as a man. Could the man merely have been the dragon ship's pilot?
Egypt holds many mysteries yet unsolved. When you stay in Cairo, be sure and visit the public markets for some great deals. Be sure to haggle and don't let the pickpockets spoil your day.
The cradle of Western Civilization. Plato lived here.
Pyramids and the Sphinx. Besides Greece, Atlantis also attacked here.
Made famous by a Greek thief named Jason, and by 8,000 years of winemaking skill.
When Jason and his Argonauts left Greece, they headed for Colchis — modern Georgia — the land of the Golden Fleece, guarded by a golden dragon. Princess of Colchis, Medea, helped her new heartthrob steal the Fleece and then helped Jason and his merry band of thieves to escape.
She married the guy and then found him cheating on her. Next, she married the king of Athens. And later, when her new husband ran her out of town, she was seen flying away on a golden dragon. Was this the same dragon which had guarded the Golden Fleece?
The children of Atlantis had six millennia to cross Eurasia. Some may well have settled in the Caucasus Mountains. The Georgians and their myth of a golden dragon and the Golden Fleece may be remnants of that long lost age.
Your stay in Georgia starts in Tbilisi (tbee-lee-see), the capital. The architecture is a mix of the quaint and the sophisticated. The food is heavenly and the wine… Did you know that wine started in Georgia? Yes, 8,000 years ago! They have over 500 different kinds.
For more information on your Georgia stay, see "Georgia, South of Russia… Children of Atlantis?"
Earlier, you learned that Atlantis and its refugees may have been matriarchal. Like the Basques and Etruscans, the Georgians also speak an agglutinative language. In their Golden Age, Queen Tamara ruled. And in their language, the word for "mother" is "deda," while the word for "father" is "mama." Here indeed and quite literally, men became the new "mamas."
Your tour ends with a visit to Kutaisi, Georgia's second-largest city, and Jason's destination when he visited Colchis. And, if you're really careful, you might catch a glimpse of Medea's dragon.
More Books on Atlantis
Frank Joseph gives his own spin on the Atlantis story. The depth of research is amazing and thought-provoking.