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Where Is Atlantis?

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Steven is a 30-something futurist, father, and self-taught science nut.

The island of Santorini, one of the most likely sites for the legendary lost city of Atlantis.

The island of Santorini, one of the most likely sites for the legendary lost city of Atlantis.

Did Atlantis Exist?

In order to realistically begin the search for Atlantis, one must have reason to believe it exists. It is easy to put down the existence of a legendary place such as Camelot, thanks to the unrealistic nature of the place (Swords stuck in magical stones, wizards and witches, magical women lying dormant underwater for eternity, waiting to give some guy a magical sword). Atlantis, however, doesn't suffer this fate.

The story of Atlantis is realistic enough to believe that it just may have existed...somewhere.

Viable arguments against the existence of Atlantis are few. The strongest of these are probably limited to three things:

  1. Divine involvement
  2. Size
  3. Lack of historical evidence

While the first two on this list are fairly simple to argue, the final point is a bit more difficult. Many ancient stories proven to be true were embellished by stories of the gods and their involvement, but this alone can not make the stories false (Many atheists believe Jesus existed as a man, just not a divine figure).

The recorded size of Atlantis can be disputed due to a simple case of "lost in translation." These kinds of errors show up often in history, making this no exception. A simple error in translation from Egyptian to Greek could change Plato's reported size from being an island bigger than Spain into something more realistic: about the size of the Island of Crete.

Finally, there is the simple lack of historical evidence. It is entirely possible that Plato only made up the story to make a point about a set of morals. This is made even more likely by the historical similarities (There really was an army of Persian invaders that was swept away by an ancient tsunami, saving the Greek city of Potidaea).
On the other hand, there have been many historic stories completely lost to us by the passage of time. Troy was just such a city.

We can thank Ceasar and his destruction of the Library of Alexandria for much of our historical losses. Had this not happened, we might today know exactly where and if Atlantis existed.

Atlantis may have never existed. Then again, Atlantis may be the greatest unsolved mystery in human history. That possibility alone will have some people forever wondering, "What happened to Atlantis, and where is it?"

Possible Locations of Atlantis

Atlantis has been found many times. Of course, these findings have been disproven many times as well. Having a personal interest in the lost city, I've often times followed these expeditions all the way to the bitter end, only to then hear of another expedition to follow. Rinse, repeat.

There are, however, many locations still widely believed to be the possible resting place of Atlantis. These locations are often full of unexplained phenomena, leading to a crowd of believers, or they have just enough physical traits to believe that they are, in fact, a lost underwater city, even if they aren't the lost city of Atlantis itself.

Where Is Atlantis Now?

Doñana Mud Flats of Spain

One of the most popular recent possible locations of Atlantis is located not necessarily underwater but under the Doñana National Park. National Geographic even dedicated an entire show to the supposed location. In the description made by Platos, the destruction of the city resulted in an impassable mud shoal. Furthermore, the mud flats have had a long history of being ravaged by tsunamis. Such a history could easily be an explanation for the lack of physical evidence of an ancient city.

This is also the believed location of the lost city of Tartessos, leading some to believe that the two ancient cities are one and the same.

While nothing has yet been found, it has also not yet been disproven and is still a popular site of speculation.

The Ancient Minoan Civilization of Crete

Crete holds what is probably the most widely accepted location for Atlantis. The ancient Minoan civilization had technology far ahead of their time and are considered to be the pioneers of ancient Greek civilization. They even spoke a language that stands as one of the few known today that may never be translated.

This "Atlantis" was also virtually destroyed overnight; however, there were survivors that persevered, eventually blending in with ancient Greek civilization rather than being completely wiped out. This evidence is contrary to Plato's account, leading many to believe that it can not possibly be Atlantis. However, once again, stories can be embellished. Leaving out those minor details makes for a better story.

Was Atlantis destroyed by the massive volcano Santorini? Maybe, but we may never know.

The Azores Islands

Few better geological locations exist than the Azores Islands when trying to find where Atlantis might have been. The islands reside about 1,000 miles from the Strait of Gibraltar (Where the Pillars of Hercules are said to be). And they are in a perfect location to justify the history of Atlantis.

The sea level has risen dramatically since the times of Atlantis. This not only makes the destruction of the lost city palpable, but it provides a basis for the belief that the Azores are now what were once the highest mountain peaks of Atlantis. One might think that this would be simple to prove or disprove with a simple underwater expedition, but the geological nature of this location makes that a nearly, if not completely, impossible task.

The Azores Islands lie in an area of the Atlantic rife with volcanic and tectonic activity. In areas such as this, entire islands can be submerged or even created, only to rapidly disappear again over the span of thousands of years. The underwater geography surrounding the Azores Islands certainly supports the possibility of Atlantis, but the odds of ever finding a single relic from thousands of years past only becomes less likely with the passing of time.

A man stumbled across this pyramid by himself. He is the only man to ever have seen it, but it must be Atlantis, right?

A man stumbled across this pyramid by himself. He is the only man to ever have seen it, but it must be Atlantis, right?

The Bermuda Triangle

In popular culture, the Bermuda Triangle may stand as one of the most popular possible locations for Atlantis. However, there is little real evidence to support the matter. While it is true that there are a lot of strange phenomena surrounding this geographic location, none of these strange phenomena can be directly associated with Plato's description of Atlantis.

The dogma behind the Bermuda Triangle also drives a lot of people to attempt what is probably nothing more than elaborate hoaxes in order to achieve a variety of goals.

One man, for example, was diving in the Caribbean when he got separated from his group. Apparently, he stumbled across a great crystal pyramid and even came up with a crystal orb retrieved from the city. Of course, stories like this always involve somebody getting separated from the group...and the group never seems to have the desire to go back and investigate further (or they suddenly can't find the location anymore).

Will the Bermuda Triangle ever be proven to be the location of the lost city of Atlantis? Who knows. Maybe we will eventually have the time, the luck, and the technology to find out the truth, and Atlantis will be found there, leading naysayers to change their tune. Until then, however, our best bets lie in more geographically reasonable locations.

Will Atlantis Ever Be Found?

Maybe, but the odds dwindle with each passing decade. The most promising locations for Atlantis are probably the most difficult to prove, while the locations with the strongest evidence generally turn out to be hoaxes.

Many other locations around the world have been suggested as the ancient city's final resting place, but many have been proven far too unlikely to seriously consider, while others have been debunked entirely. Where is Atlantis? Odds are, we will never know. But if we do, it could be grounds to completely rewrite a large chunk of the history of civilization.


KyleB. Ewing on June 28, 2020:

Completely- fascinating, wow! The legend of Atlantis -as a topic, it is viewed by most spectators as a myth. Lost Continent of; and as for any sources that provide information, it’s gained people’s interest & compelled more belief. Today is the year 2020. I personally believe- (that it fit into the category of being an optional belief system). Nevertheless, I am prepared to hear the latest News Updates -on the subject. Atlantis was more than a myth, right?

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on June 18, 2020:

Intriguing. I've read how underwater pueblos have been found off the coast of Florida. I wouldn't doubt there are many places Atlantis could rest. Fascinating mind opening article.

Tien on February 19, 2019:

Thanks for the Facts! They will sure help me in school work!!!

Lisa from WA on July 01, 2013:

Those unsolvable myths, like the location of Atlantis, are always the most fascinating topics to discuss and read about. With all those theories out there, who knows if the real city will ever be found? I think I just read an article a few months ago that claimed that it was in Brazil somewhere. I could be remembering wrong though.

Christophersun on February 06, 2013:

Cool post! I'd love to hear your take on the Piri Reis map