1. Cleopatra’s Palace, Alexandria, Egypt
For centuries, ancient writers had praised the Egyptian cities of Canopus and Heracleion as visions of splendor. Such descriptions had long sparked the interest of historians and archaeologists in the modern world, but the cities themselves were nowhere to be found. Finally, in 1992, researchers from the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous Marine—European Institute of Underwater Archaeology (IEASM)—set out to search the Alexandrian waters. Literary texts, ancient inscriptions, papyrological documentation, and archaeological information provided by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) all indicated great promise in this region.
Still, scientists had only a faint idea of the monuments and artifacts hidden in these shallow waters. Their discoveries now reveal that Canopus and Heracleion formed a rich network with nearby Alexandria, a network that allowed the entire region to flourish. Today the sunken cities contain only remnants of this network, but artifact by artifact, excavations have brought us a few steps closer in the never ending search for Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic queen of Egypt.
Just off the shores of Alexandria lies what is believed to be the palace of Cleopatra, an ancient Egyptian queen. It is believed that the ruins were cast into the sea by an earthquake over 1,500 years ago and lay dormant until recent years.
Along with the royal quarters, archaeologists also believe they have found the temple of Isis alongside them. To date, more than 140 artifacts have been uncovered from the site and experts now believe they have located the tomb of Cleoplatra and an ancient museum within the ruins.
Hopefully the ruins will be opened up to divers and tourists in the years to come, allowing us all to have a closer look at the marvel that is Cleopatra’s palace.