Not that this will ever happen considering that the Sin Oasis is in the middle of a desert, but imagine for a second if Las Vegas were to sink. I mean truly immersed in the depths of the Atlantic, taking with it every little bit of hedonism that defines America’s entertainment capital. Americans would lose their busiest adult playground; it had only become a tourist attraction for divers keen to discover the rusty historical ruins of a city that once teemed with ostentatious power games and gangster-owned casinos conducive to drug addiction. All that residual cocaine would fly into the sea. However, it wouldn’t be the first destination of debauchery to suffer such a fate – it would be the underwater city of Baiae, a Roman seaside resort once frequented by Julius Caeser, the Emperor Nero, Augustus and the Orgy King Caligula, now relegated to an aquatic tomb that only those with the right scuba gear can explore.
Submerged 13 feet under the sea, just off the northwestern shore around the Gulf of Naples, the Las Vegas of ancient Rome is an archaeological gold mine spanning 437 acres with a plethora of ruins that include various marble columns, domed public baths, porticoes, replica statues (the originals are in a museum), shrines and some ornamental fish ponds. Stories of the rampaging Roman nobility are echoed by registered tour guides, who regularly take divers to the Aquatic Tomb and point out areas of historical significance, such as a collapsed villa and its mosaic floor, where apparently Gaius Calpurnius Pisoni spent his days conspiring against the emperor. Nero.
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Talk to Daily sabah earlier this year, Marcello Bertolaso ââof Camp Flegrei diving center described Baiae as an incomparable archaeological treasure.
âIt’s hard, especially for first-time visitors, to imagine that you can find things that you could never see anywhere in the world within a few meters of waterâ¦ divers love to see things. very special, but what you can see in Baiae Park is something unique. â
The underwater city of Baiae has been designated a Marine Protected Area since 2002, although it was first discovered in the 1940s when an Italian Air Force pilot Raimondo Baucher spotted the ruins while taking some aerial photos. Reports indicate that the city’s history could date back to 178 BC.
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The reason the town of Baiae became so popular in the first place was because of all the hot springs that arose as a result of a nearby supervolcano then known as Campi Flegrei. The city finally met its creator, with all the hydrothermal and seismic activity nearby causing the land to gradually fall and collapse into the sea, tearing off all of the lavish villas built by Julius Caesar and Emperor Nero. Although some of the remains of these mansion-like villas have been partially reduced and kept at the Baiae Land Museum, the rest remain underwater.
If you consider yourself a history buff and are used to exploring these unique destinations, know that visitors can dive at 14 different points of the archaeological site by visiting the Campi Flegrei archaeological park, covering Portus Julius, the Submerged nymphaeum of Emperor Claudius, Smoky Reef and others.
The Las Vegas of ancient Rome is also next to the commercial capital of Pozzuoli and the military headquarters of Misene, two cities that have suffered the same fate and are also submerged in the same area. These ruins are said to be between four and six meters underwater.