Could Lion City actually be the legendary lost city of Atlantis? Probably not, but plenty of people are referring to it as the Atlantis of the East, suggesting that it could be just as magnificent.
Lion City, the colloquial name given to the Chinese city of Shicheng for its abundance of lion statues and reliefs around the city, was at the center of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang more than 600 years ago. However, in 1959 the city situated between the Five Lion Mountain was purposely flooded to make way for the Xin’an Dam and its hydroelectric plant — a decision that resulted in the relocation of nearly 300,000 residents.
The city was “rediscovered” in 2001 though, when the Chinese government organized an expedition to examine the remains of the lost metropolis. Interest increased in 2011 when the Chinese National Geography published never-before-seen photographs and illustrations of the city.
Expeditions and underwater photographs have revealed that Lion City had five entrance gates, as opposed to the traditional four in cardinal directions. The city streets boasted magnificent archways with lions, dragons, phoenixes and historic edicts dating back to 1777.
To this day, Shicheng remains well-preserved even though it is under water because it has been protected from wind and sun erosion. The wood structures, for instance, are remarkably intact.
Divers can visit Shicheng with groups such as Big Blue or Zi Ao Diving Club, however, only experienced divers with proficiency in deep water and night diving can participate because the site is still “exploratory.”