Oceans of Wonder: 30 Unbelievable Underwater Discoveries

By Jack Ripley | January 2, 2024

The Lost Roman City of Baia

The sea holds a trove of treasures and secrets, but some are still awaiting discovery. While some underwater discoveries are expected, like the remnants of a sunken ship, others turn out to be mysterious yet wondrous surprises. From shipwrecks of the Great Lakes to aircraft recoveries of the world's oceans and underwater cities to long-hidden treasures, there's no telling what the oceans and seas of the world will reveal next. Check out some of the most fascinating yet eerie underwater discoveries in history.

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Baia is an Ancient Roman city that’s been underwater for more than 500 years. In its time above ground, it was known as an illicit playground for the ultra-wealthy, a hotbed for partying. Home to magnificent villas, spas, pools, and more, Baia is where the wealthy of yesteryear would spend their weekends in the lap of luxury.

Regarded as the "Las Vegas of Ancient Rome," Baia was situated atop volcanic vents the likes of which caused the city to sink over time. Today, Baia sits on the seabed of the Gulf of Naples off the shore town of Bacoli, Italy. Baia is a much-loved diving site; in fact, it comprises eight sites that range from 5 to 13 meters in depth. When exploring Baia, it’s not uncommon to encounter mosaic-tiled pools like the one pictured above as well as marble statues and other relics of this lost city.

Italy’s Christ of the Abyss

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This bronze statue was molded by Italian sculptor Guido Galletti. Created to be placed underwater, the famed statue resides in the Mediterranean Sea off San Fruttuoso. Christ of the Abyss was crafted to commemorate Dario Gonazatti, the first Italian to utilize scuba gear, near the site where he died underwater in 1947.

The statue depicts Jesus Christ with arms outstretched skyward in a show of peace and benediction. Though the salt water, passing ships, and sea growth have damaged the statue, it was removed for restoration in 2003 and promptly replaced in the sea. Two replicas, made from the same cast as Christ of the Abyss, were subsequently placed in Granada, along the coast of St. George, and the other in the National Marine Sanctuary on the coast of Key Largo, Florida. Each of the three statues can be explored when scuba diving or snorkeling.