We’re told Atlantis is a myth, but that’s never stopped people from looking for it. Almost every nation and culture in the world has a variant of the Atlantis myth – a mighty and powerful city that once sank below the waves and left behind no trace – and so the sheer ubiquity of the tale suggests that it might come from a forgotten historical truth. New potential locations for Atlantis are announced several times a year by the press, but none have so far been proven to be the mythical city. Perhaps none ever will.
It’s the mythical quality of Atlantis that keeps people looking for it. Like the Loch Ness monster and Robin Hood, it’s a story that inspires the imagination even though we know in our heart of hearts that it’s a fairy tale. Not being real hasn’t stopped Atlantis from becoming successful Disney movie (‘Atlantis: The Lost Empire.’) Nor has it stopped an online slots game called ‘Atlantis: City of Destiny’ from becoming popular on online slots websites. Real-world locations have been used successfully as themes several times for online slots. Basing an online slots for UK on a mythical location is far less common, but the fact that the Atlantis game attracts so many players is a strong sign of the enthusiasm that people have for the fable.
If we were to go on a world tour looking for Atlantis, though, where would we look? We’ve cast our eye over some of the most often-mentioned contenders, and here are our thoughts.
The Sahara Desert
This seems like an unlikely place to start. The Sahara Desert is very famously very dry and very hot, and so you’d think that there isn’t much potential for a whole city to disappear below waves there. Bear with us, though, because there’s some theory to back this up, and several respectable historians and geologists believe that Atlantis might have been hiding in plain sight in the Sahara for thousands of years. The rumors began when the French colonized the north of Africa and found evidence of a lost civilization in the south of Algeria. Carthage’s ancient harbor is of particular interest – it almost exactly resembles a description of the lost city of Atlantis taken from ancient Egyptian texts. Just because there’s no water there now doesn’t mean that there wasn’t water there thousands of years ago.
There used to be a lot more European land above sea level than there is now. Much of the land that used to be part of the Netherlands is now underwater, and so is a plain that used to exist between Wales and Ireland in the British Isles. Neither of those areas is thought to be contenders for Atlantis, though. The mudflats you’ll find in the south of Spain, though, might tell another story. As recently as 2011, archaeologists found strong evidence of a human civilization buried beneath those mudflats, and if they’re right, it will pinpoint the location of Atlantis as being just to the north of the Spanish region of Cadiz.
Portugal might be in possession of what’s left of Atlantis. It’s a strange land formation to look at, and if you interpret Plato’s writings about Atlantic in a certain way, it may once have looked very different. Plato makes reference to stories told to him by Egyptian priests, who say that the city of Atlantis fought a long war against an ancient Mediterranean race that only ended when the city sank, almost ten thousand years ago. Plato was convinced that, based on these descriptions, Atlantis must have been a large island, and it must have been somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. After it sank, only a few scattered remnants of it remained above the waterline – and the Azores would fit the bill perfectly in terms of both location and appearance.
Malta is an exotic tourist destination today and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Could those visitors be walking on the land of what used to be Atlantis without even knowing it? It’s possible. The island contains some of the oldest-human made structures ever found on our planet, the oldest of which have been confirmed as being made at least nine thousand years ago. That doesn’t quite reach the ten thousand years we’d need to fit the bill as far as Plato is concerned, but we have to allow for historical inaccuracies. Plato would have no way of validating the claims of the Egyptian priests in terms of dates. There are fossilized elephant bones on Malta, but no elephants there today. That suggests that the terrain was once very different. Add in the act that the island also shows the scars of what appears to have been a catastrophic tsunami thousands of years ago, and you begin to wonder if this might have been Atlantis after all.
Any island or group of islands in and around the Mediterranean area might be a contender for Atlantis, but Cyprus might have one of the strongest claims of all of them. The American architect Robert Sarmurst, who pursues archaeology in his spare time, conducted sonar scans of an area off Cyprus’ east coast in 2004 and stands by his claim that the scans provided irrefutable proof that Atlantis is below the sea within that zone. Robert shared his scans online and drew attention to an area that resembles stone walls some five thousand feet below sea level. If it could be proven that the ‘walls’ were made by human hands, we’d have to concede that they do indeed resemble a description that appears in Plato’s text. We’d have to send divers down there to verify the finding though – and at that depth, it’s far from an easy task. So far, nobody has tried it.
Would you find proof of Atlantis if you went looking in any of these locations yourself? Probably not – but that doesn’t mean you can’t try! All of them make beautiful tourist destinations in their own right, and if you can throw a little amateur investigation into your break while you’re there, then you’re likely to have even more fun. Not every historical quest involves beautiful weather and stunning scenery, but a quest for Atlantis does!