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Deep beneath the placid blue waters of Qiandao Lake in China lurks a beautiful and haunting sight. You’d be forgiven for thinking the above photograph was a digital manipulation, and it’s true that sunken cities have often remained confined to myth, but this mysterious place really does exist. Read on for more stunning photographs of the hidden wonder.

Qiandao Lake is an artificial lake located in Chun’an County, China, also known as the Thousand Island Lake. The valley it lies in was flooded in 1959 to create the lake for the Xin’an River Dam project.

In 2001 archaeologists discovered the ruins of an ancient city under the water. The remains are known as Shi Cheng or Lion City as it is located at the foot of Wu Shi Mountain, or Five Lion Mountain.

The ancient monuments of Lion City were built over 1,300 years ago, yet as you can see below, some of the stone carvings are still in almost pristine condition.

While it remains mostly undisturbed at a depth of between 26 and 40 metres, a local diving company is currently running weekend dives to explore the city. Why keep searching for Atlantis when its much more real counterpart is just waiting for a daring diver to unearth its secrets?

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▼ Who knows what else lies beneath the water?

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▼ Thousands of islands dot the lake’s surface, including Snake Island, Monkey Island, and the Island to Remind You of Your Childhood.

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Source: Fubiz