Ancient City of Heracleion, near Alexandria, Egypt
Just as in the classical tale, Heracleion was once a prosperous, thriving city before it was engulfed by the sea around 1,500 years ago. It was grand enough to be mentioned by the Greek writer Herodotus, the 5th-century BC historian.
He told the fabulous story of Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world — she of the face that launched a thousand ships — travelling to Heracleion, then a port of ‘great wealth’, with her glamorous Trojan lover, Paris.
But no physical evidence of such a grand settlement appeared until 2001, when a group led by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio stumbled upon some relics that led them to one of the greatest finds of the 21st century.
Goddio was in search of Napoleon’s warships from the 1798 Battle of the Nile, when he was defeated by Nelson in these very waters, but came upon this much more significant discovery.