Hidden beneath the waters of China’s Qiandao Lake lies an ancient city that has been undisturbed for decades. Recent expedition found it being preserved intact.
The ancient city of Shi Cheng, also known as Lion City, was built during the Tang Dynasty in 621 AD and was the centre of politics, culture and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang. The city lies at the foot of Wu Shi Mountain (Five Lion Mountain), beneath Qiandao Lake (Thousand Island Lake) in the province of Zhéjiang, China.
In 1959, the Chinese government purposely flooded and submerging Shi Cheng under 40 metres of water to make way for the Xin’an Dam and its adjoining hydroelectric station. The city’s 290,000 inhabitants were relocated for the project.
In 2001, Shi Cheng was ‘rediscovered’ after the Chinese government organised an expedition to see what might remain of the lost metropolis. Despite being underwater, the city was largely intact. Many of the stone architecture dating to the Ming and Qing dynasties; gates and carvings; the wide streets with 265 archways featuring stonework of lions, arches and historical inscriptions were all perfectly preserved.