Where was Atlantis?

Updated after the launch of 'Gateway to Atlantis'


It was 2,350 years ago that the Greek philosopher Plato introduced the world to Atlantis, an island empire founded by the sea-god Poseidon and located on a landmass the size of `Libya and Asia put together'. It was said to have possessed a cosmopolitan metropolis, with palaces, royal courts, harbour works and waterways that constantly received sea-going vessels from afar.

The whole island, as well as the other islands over which Atlantis held dominion, was divided up into ten parts, each ruled by its own king. The first king, Atlas, was granted domain over the city and all the lands thereabouts. Each fifth and sixth year the ten kings would meet to pass laws and swear on oath during a ceremony in which a bull was sacrificed. For many generations Atlantis ruled the Atlantic Ocean as well as parts of the `opposite continent'. Yet soon the empire set its sights on controlling the lands inside the Mediterranean basin. It was at this point that the fair race of Athens rose up against the Atlantean aggressor and in a decisive naval battle defeated its enemy. Some time afterwards the god Zeus unleashed earthquakes and floods that drowned the Athenian navy and submerged the island of Atlantis in one `terrible day and night'. The date given for this catastrophe is given as post 8570 BC in Plato's dialogue the Timaeus and 9421 BC in its sequel the Critias.

In these works, Plato implies that it was the famous Athenian archon, or chief magistrate, named Solon who first learnt of the story of Atlantis during a visit to the Temple of Sais in Egypt's Nile Delta around the year 570 BC. His account was preserved by Plato's family until it was made known to Critias, Plato's own uncle, who recounted the story during a created dialogue headed by the philosopher Socrates in 421 BC. Solon was related to Plato's family and was thus a distant relative of Plato himself.

Yet did Atlantis ever exist? Was all or just part of its island kingdom drowned in the cataclysm that supposedly devastated the Atlantic world in some distant age of mankind? What is the true location of Atlantis? Is it Antarctica, Crete, America, the Mid-Atlantic or somewhere else - somewhere previously overlooked by scholars, but now finding support among top scientists, historians and writers?

These are by far the most serious contenders:

Choose a destination to read about the evidence.