Oceans of Wonder: 30 Unbelievable Underwater Discoveries

By Jack Ripley | February 6, 2024

The Underwater City of Canopus

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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Located in the Nile Delta, close to the underwater city of Heracleion (see above), resides the sunken city of Canopus. This mystical underwater mecca was once a primary Egyptian port of the Mediterranean. It’s believed that like Hearcleion, Canopus fell victim to a natural disaster that eventually submerged it. Canopus’s final resting place is difficult to approach, so it’s been left virtually untouched since its sinking in the 8th century CE.

What lies beneath the ocean's surface is incredible architecture, magnificent structures, and hidden treasures aplenty. Since its sinking, Canopus has become the home for colorful coral, diverse marine life, and bioluminescent algae. Unfortunately, the sunken city’s caves and intricate infrastructure make it impossible for outsiders to reach.

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.