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The Lost City of Heracleion

Unearth the secrets of the Lost City of Heracleion, an ancient Egyptian marvel submerged for centuries beneath the Mediterranean Sea.

The Lost City of Heracleion - Egypt Tours Portal

Summary

  • Heracleion's Historical Significance: Heracleion, an ancient city at Alexandria's Nile River mouth, was a crucial trade hub connecting Egypt and the Mediterranean world during the Late Period and Ptolemaic era.
  • Purpose of Heracleion's Construction: Heracleion was constructed to honor the Egyptian god Amun, with distinct districts separated by waterways and a grand temple connecting to a natural lake.
  • Theories About Its Submersion: Possible reasons for the city's sinking include geological factors like land subsidence, earthquakes, sediment from the Nile, and vulnerability to tsunamis or storm surges.
  • Rediscovery and Archaeological Find: In the early 2000s, Heracleion's underwater rediscovery unveiled well-preserved artifacts, including gold coins, jewelry, deity statues, shipwrecks, and inscriptions, shedding light on its historical and religious significance.

The lost city of Heracleion has been recognized as a legend for centuries. It was visited by lots of ancient historians like Herodotus & Diodorus from the 5th century BC in addition to Paris & Helen of Troy. The city of Heracleion was lost for around 1200 years until it was discovered in 2000 by the French archeologist Frank Goddio and the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology. It is believed that the lost city of Heracleion was founded in the 12th century BC and it was known as "Thonis".

In this article, we will navigate the turbulent currents of time and exploration, delving into the myths, mysteries, and marvels of the lost city of Heracleion.

Historical Significance Of The Lost City Of Heracleion

Historical Significance Of The Lost City Of Heracleion - Egypt Tours Portal
Historical Significance Of The Lost City Of Heracleion - Egypt Tours Portal

The phenomenal city of Heracleion a.k.aThonis-Heracleion held great historical significance as the coastal city was found at the mouth of the Nile River in the city of Alexandria which stood for centuries as a powerful trade hub between the Mediterranean world and Egypt It was established between the Late Period (664-332 BCE) and the Ptolemaic period (332-30 BCE). Thonis-Heracleion was a cosmopolitan gateway to the Mediterranean world and Egypt that controlled maritime traffic and served as a hub for international trade. Greek mythology can be seen across the sunken city as it was named after the mythical Greek hero Heracles "Hercules in Roman mythology".

The city's Egyptian name "Thonis" is derived from the Egyptian god Osiris the ruler of the underworld, which is an epic mixture of Greek and Egyptian cultures. The city gained fame as a religious and cultural center as it was guarded by a colossal statue of Hapy who was the god of fertility and the river, and was dedicated to the creator god Amun as seen among all the shrines and temples that were discovered there at the bottom of the sea thus making it one of the most significant religious spot in ancient Egyptian times. The city also offered a unique look into ancient religious practices which include the Mysteries of Osiris celebration.

Why Was the Heracleion City Built?

Why Was the Heracleion City Built - Egypt Tours Portal
Why Was the Heracleion City Built - Egypt Tours Portal

It was originally built to honor the god Amun who was the Egyptian deity of the air and the sun during the New Kingdom of Egypt from 1570 to 1069 BC. The amazing walls that were discovered in that lost city have narrated so much interesting information & stories as revealed that the city contained different districts that were separated by waterways and archeologists have dubbed "The Grand Canal" which is a massive temple located on a massive waterway and that Grand Canal connected the port to a huge natural lake.

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Lots of unbelievable maritime artifacts and shipwrecks have been discovered within those ports and canals. There are small artifacts that managed to survive during all of those past years despite the sinking of the entire city including some statuettes & amulets that depict the Egyptian and the Greek deities in addition to various buildings, shrines, and carved wooded naos.

How Did The Heracleion City Sink?

How Did The Heracleion City Sink - Egypt Tours Portal
How Did The Heracleion City Sink - Egypt Tours Portal

The reason for the sunken of the city of Heracleion remains unclear as many believe it was sunk due to a number of natural disasters such as subsidence of land, earthquakes, and the rising sea level because of geological factors that led to the city's gradual sinking. There are many theories that relate to the fall of the city to the sea which include the continuous deposition of sediments from the Nile River that may have slowed the activities of its harbors thus decreasing its maritime activities thus becoming less economical the city sinking slowly with time thus making it vulnerable to flooding.

The golden city may have also been the victim of a Tsunami or Storm Surge since Heracleion's location is near the Mediterranean Sea. Its existence serves as an immortal reminder of the vulnerability of the world's coastal cities in the face of the countless ecological challenges of the future.

What Was Found In Heracleion City?

What Was Found In Heracleion City - Egypt Tours Portal
What Was Found In Heracleion City - Egypt Tours Portal

At the beginning of the early 2000s, the rediscovery of the underwater city in the modern ages led to a number of magnificent archaeological findings. The sunken city of Heracleion was submerged underwater which was found buried beneath levels of silt and sand at the sea bed of Aboukir Bay on the coast of the city of Alexandria. The city's excavation was able to display incredible insights into its epic interactions with the Hellenic countries which were able to culturely merge with Egyptian and Greek influences as seen written in the stone figurine of Cleopatra II or III who is seen wearing an outfit featuring the Egyptian goddess Isis.

The submersion of Alexandria is filled with well-preserved artifacts that sit at the bottom of the sea. some of the archaeological wonders include various gold coins, jewelry, statues of deities like Hapy, Isis, Amun, and more, plus ritual animal sarcophagi, a second stele of the Decree of Nectanebo I, and ceramic pieces from Greek origin A number of shipwrecks dating from the 6th century BC were discovered which contained priceless cargo that uncovered great facts on the city's role as a trading hub.

All the temples, religious artifacts, and important inscriptions will uncover important historical facts, the city's religious significance, and mythological significance as seen in all the statues of renowned deities like Osiris and Amun. All the ancient historical records and texts found in the underwater city of Heracleion have uncovered the city's rulers and the deep interactions between the Mediterranean civilizations and ancient Egyptian civilizations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Finest Destinations to Visit in Egypt?

The entire country of Egypt deserve to be explored with its every heavenly detail but there are places that must be seen before any other such as the breathtaking Hurghada's red sea, The wonders of Cairo the pyramids of Giza, the great sphinx, the Egyptian Museum, Khan El Khalili Bazaar, the wonders of Luxor like Valley of the Kings, Karnak & Hatshepsut temple and the wonders of Aswan such as Abu Simbel temples, Philea temple, Unfinished obelisk and The Wonders of Alexandria like Qaitbat Citadel, Pompey's Pillar and Alexandria Library. Read more about the best places to visit in Egypt.

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What Is the Top Traditional Egyptian Food?

Egypt has a variety of delicious cuisines but we recommend “Ful & Ta’meya (Fava Beans and Falafel)”, Mulukhiya, “Koshary”, a traditional Egyptian pasta dish, and Kebab & Kofta, the Egyptian traditional meat dish.

What is the Best Time to Visit Egypt?

The best time to travel to Egypt is during the winter from September to April as the climate becomes a little tropical accompanied by a magical atmosphere of warm weather with a winter breeze. You will be notified in the week of your trip if the Climate is unsafe and if any changes have been made.

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Is it Safe to Travel to Egypt?

You will feel safe in Egypt as the current atmosphere of the country is quite peaceful after the government took powerful measures like restructuring the entire tourist police to include all the important and tourist attractions in Egypt. Read more about is it safe to travel to Egypt.

What to Wear While in Egypt?

Wear whatever feels right and comfortable. It is advised to wear something light and comfortable footwear like a closed-toe shoe to sustain the terrain of Egypt. Put on sun block during your time in Egypt in the summer to protect yourself from the sun.

What are the Best Activities to Do in Egypt?

The best activity is by far boarding a Nile Cruise between Luxor and Aswan or Vise Versa. Witness the beauty of Egypt from a hot balloon or a plane and try all the delicious Egyptian cuisines and drinks plus shopping in old Cairo. Explore the allure and wonders of the red sea in the magical city resorts of Egypt like Hurghada and many more by diving and snorkeling in the marine life or Hurghada. Behold the mesmerizing western desert by a safari trip under the heavenly Egyptian skies.

What are Egypt Festival and Public Holidays?

There are a lot of public holidays in Egypt too many to count either religious or nation, the most important festivals are the holy month of Ramadan which ends with Eid Al Fitr, Christmas and new years eve. Read more about festivals & publich holidays in Egypt.

What are Special Advice for Foreign Women in Egypt?

Egypt is considered to be one of the most liberal Islamic countries but it has become a little bit conservative in the last couple of decades so it is advised to avoid showing your chest, shoulders or legs below the knees.

What are the Official Languages of Egypt?

Arabic is the official language and Most Egyptians, who live in the cities, speak or understand English or at least some English words or phrases. Fewer Egyptians can speak French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Professional tour guides, who work in the tourism sector, are equipped to handle visitors who cannot speak Arabic and they will speak enough English and other languages to fulfill the needs of all our clients.

What is the Transportation in Egypt?

The fastest way is a car, of course, a taxi. If you are in Cairo ride a white taxi to move faster or you could board the fastest way of transportation in Egypt metro if the roads are in rush hour.

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The temperature in Egypt ranges from 37c to 14 c. Summer in Egypt is somehow hot but sometimes it becomes cold at night and winter is cool and mild. The average of low temperatures vary from 9.5 °C in the wintertime to 23 °C in the summertime and the average high temperatures vary from 17 °C in the wintertime to 32 °C in the summertime. The temperature is moderate all along the coasts.

What are the Reasons That Make You Visit Egypt?

It is the home of everything a traveler might be looking for from amazing historical sites dating to more than 4000 years to enchanting city resorts & beaches. You will live the vacation you deserve as Egypt has everything you could possibly imagine.

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