Egypt in ancient times there was a great power, its culture flourished. But the legendary land of the Pharaohs fell to Alexander the Great, his empire will last until the death of Cleopatra. How did he do it? Like the Greeks conquered this ancient and proud civilization? One answer lies in the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea … The huge temple town that disappeared over a thousand years ago, the legendary Heraklion …
Great movie and an article about the mysterious city and its many temples.
Watch Discovery: The Lost Temple of the Gods
More than two thousand years ago, the port city of Heraklion, which was located at the mouth of the Nile, and 25 kilometers east of Alexandria, Egypt, considered the gateway. Through this port the ships were in Egypt, and left him. Today this city is not. It lies on the seabed. Once located in Heraklion, about a meter above the level of the sea. Now, the city lies on the bottom of Aboukir Bay at a depth of six meters. Archaeologists led by Frank Goddio, the founder of the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology in Paris, announced that they found on the sea floor ruins of the ancient city, its marina, temples, statues of Greek gods, houses … The discovery was made accidentally when the archaeologists involved in the search and recovery of sunken ships Napoleon's fleet, sunk in 1798 by the British led by Admiral Nelson.
Why at the end of 800s BC Heraklion city together with the surrounding villages went to the bottom? Perhaps, this area has experienced the worst flooding, and the weight of the waves wetlands at the mouth of the Nile went under the water along with everything that was on them? Or is all the fault of a strong earthquake, resulting in a huge area went under ground and then was flooded by the Mediterranean Sea? "These are the questions to be answered, first of all, geophysicists," — says Professor Amos Nur of Stanford University, who chaired the meeting of the American Geophysical Society, devoted to the study of sunken cities. The conference was held recently in San Francisco. "And yet — continues the professor, — will have to determine was the sinking was gradual or sudden, a result of a disaster."
In the center of Heraklion towered temple of Hercules. This temple has been described by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the Hellenized 450th BC. Heraklion is also famous for its temples dedicated to other gods — Greek and Egyptian: Serapis — the god of fertility and healing, Isis — the goddess of motherhood, Anubis — shakalogolovogo patron of the dead.
The Greek historian and geographer Strabo, who lived about the time of Jesus Christ, described the life of the citizens of Heraklion as idle and immoral. The sad fate of Heraklion can tell scientists what the potential dangers are threatening the modern Alexandria. Professor Nur has previously studied the geology of the area, but earlier periods. And he came to the conclusion that a series of earthquakes in the Mediterranean area, which lasted for 50 years in the 1200s BC, led to the flooding of Troy, Jericho, and nearly 50 other city-states that flourished in the late Bronze Age. Speaking at a conference in San Francisco, Professor Nur said that, as noted by underwater archaeologists, granite columns of the Temple of Hercules fell all in one direction. This indicates that the reason for the drop could be a strong flow of water. But what caused this thread? Perhaps the earthquake, similar to what happened in the 365th year of our era on the island of Crete. The strength of his current classification is 8.5 points. The earthquake sea levels rose by 25 feet. Something like this, according to Professor Nur, occurred about 7,000 years ago off the coast of Norway, where a series of undersea earthquakes caused a terrible cataclysm: thousands of square kilometers of continental shelf turned into the seabed. Similarly, tsunamis, earthquakes or landslides could ever leave the water coastal areas of ancient Egypt.
The surprise of scientists is the fact that although the ancient historical records are records of many of the major earthquake and tsunami, including those destroyed in 365 AD the government palace in the eastern harbor of Alexandria — there is no mention of the disaster that led to the the death of Heraklion. Professor Nur put forward the version causes of the disaster: apparently, was underwater earthquake, which stretches from the Gulf of Suez after Aboukir Bay to the island of Crete, or tectonic crack ran parallel to the coastline of North Africa. Senior oceanographer at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, Jean-Daniel Stanley believes that the culprit of the destruction was likely the Nile, not tremors. "I do not rule out earthquakes, — he said — but more likely flood caused by flooding of the Nile."
North of Cairo, the Nile divides into several branches, and one of the largest ever flowed near Heraklion. Exploring the earlier images of the bottom layers of the Nile Delta, Jean-Daniel Stanley came to the conclusion that 2000 years ago, the arm of the Nile, in question, under the influence of unexplained natural disasters moved a few miles to the east, before obmelet and disappear altogether.
Maybe all the fault of a series of catastrophic floods, which resulted in the Nile has changed its course. A few gold coins found during the underwater excavations by archaeologists give some ground to speculate on exactly when the disaster occurred. The last of the coins can be minted between 720 m and 740 m over the years AD.
Jean-Daniel Stanley has verified their assumptions with measurements of sea level using the camera on a sharp stone in Roda Katrezh. There use to measure the level of the Nile with the 640th year of our era. Scientist found here confirm that the floods occurred in the 741-m and 742 m respectively. "Under the weight of the swollen water swampy ground on which stood Heraklion, easily eroded, — said Professor Stanley. — The city was built on a marshy plain, only 90-100 centimeters above sea level. One can imagine that even a small but sharp rise of water in the river could just wash away the city. A great flood — and at flood. At the same time, the flood damage could have been caused only limited areas around the mouth of the river, for example. At the same earthquake damage would have been much more significant and would cover a much larger area. "
Proponents of the theory point to the earthquake lies in one of the temples in the cleft of 3 meters wide, 1.5 meters deep and several hundred meters long. This cleft, according to Professor Nur, was the result of tectonic shifts that cause earthquakes. Nura opponent Stanley inclined to think that the cleft formed by the flood — the ground was podmyta bottom and has spread: "In these clefts there is nothing unique — said Jean-Daniel Stanley. — They are found in the deltas of large rivers such as the Mississippi in the United States and the Yangtze in China. "
The origin of the cleft has been one of the main subjects of discussion in the scientific conference of geophysicists in San Francisco. However, scientists have agreed on the fact that the crack was made before the final destruction and disappearance of Heraklion. The caretakers of the temple of Hercules were clearly trying to restore the affected building, to strengthen both sides of the cleft greenery and fill it with sand. Discovered in the cleft of the sand is identical to the sand on the beaches of Aboukir, and not like the mud, which usually covers the seabed. The scientific debate about the causes of death of Heraklion continue. Archaeologists and geologists have to go back to Aboukir this spring to continue the search for an answer to the question why the city Heraklion found at the bottom of the sea?