Wish You Were Here: Searching the Mediterranean Coast for the Lost City of Atlantis

by Carolyn Sotka

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The view from Fira on Santorini, an island in Greece formed by a volcanic eruption around 1600 B.C. Photo: James Rajotte for The New York Times.

Join Mark Adams as he explores Spain’s Andalusian coast, Malta, and the Greek Island of Santorini in hopes of following clues that will lead him to the lost city of Atlantis. Adam’s journey is chronicled in his new book Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City and in his guest article My Quest for Atlantis, featured earlier this week in the New York Times.

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Contrary to what you may recall from myths and tales, the original Atlantis wasn’t a technologically advanced underwater city populated by Aquaman and mermaids. Image from the Daily Mail.

This is not a fool’s errand or just a ho-hum travel trek. Some scholars believe the lost city is not sunken on the ocean floor, but rather an island or landmass, hidden in plain sight that perhaps succumbed to a tsunami or earthquake – not unlike what we have seen in recent years. After all, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Chichen Itza and other ancient civilizations have been and are still being unearthed around the world.

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Plato, was the first person to describe Atlantis in his dialogues “Timaeus” and and “Critias,” around 360 B.C. He recounts a land from 9000 years ago filled with beautiful mountains, circular canals, and monumental works of architecture, lush flora, bountiful fields and fruit trees. Plato makes mention of the city’s demise as well…“there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.”

Plato included so much detail that people have argued ever since whether he intended the story to be taken as truth or fiction. In the debate of the exact meanings of Plato’s cryptic account, one leading interpretation is that Atlantis was intended to illustrate political ideas put forth in the “Republic,” widely considered to be the most important book in the Western canon.

From the Rock of Gibraltar, to the Pillars of Hercules, to Gades (now known as Cádiz, Spain), the temples of Malta and the 3,600 year old port city of Akrotiri that was buried 3,600 years ago by a volcanic explosion, Adam’s journey will inspire you to don your Indiana Jones hat and set forth in search of adventure.

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The Rock of Gibraltar with the southern coast of Spain in the background. Plato hinted Atlantis could be nearby. Photo: James Rajotte for The New York Times

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Whether you are a believer or not check out his new book Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City on Amazon and his recent New York Times article, My Quest for Atlantis. -CS

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