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Abu Qir Sunken cities in Alexandria is one of the awesome destination for divers from worldwide. In fact, Abu Qir sunken cities lies in Abu Qir in Alexandria. Abu Qir is the Northwest of Alexandria. Over there, the archaeologists explored the sunken cities of Heracleion and Canopus in 1992. Heracleion, also known as Thonis, was an ancient Egyptian city near Alexandria. Its ruins located in Abu Qir Bay, currently 2.5 km off the coast, under 10 m (30 ft) of water. Its legendary beginnings goes back to the 12th century BC. It mentioned by ancient Greek historians. Its importance grew particularly during the waning days of the Pharaohs. It was Egypt’s main port for international trade and collection of taxes.
Heracleion originally built on some adjoining islands in the Nile Delta. It intersected by canals. Moreover, it possessed many harbors and anchorages. It was the sister city of Naucratis which superseded by Alexandria. Furthermore, it believed that Paris and Helen of Troy stranded in Abu Qir Sunken cities. It was on their flight from the jealous Menelaus. This was before the Trojan war began. Menelaus and Helen had stayed there, accommodated by the noble Egyptian Thon and Polydamna. Also, it believed that Heracles himself visited the city and the city gained its name from him. Abu Qir Sunken cities had a large temple of Khonsou, son of Amun, who known to the Greeks as Herakles.
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Later, the worship of Amun became more prominent. Heracleion flourished especially from the 6th to the 4th century BC. It revealed by many archaeological finds. Pharaoh Nectanebo I made many additions to the temple in the 4th century B.C. The city sank in the 3rd or 2nd century AD. Probably due to liquefaction of the silts on which it built following earth tremors. The ruins submerged in the sea where located by the French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio in 2000. Until then, the scholars were not sure if Heracleion and Thonis were in fact one and same city. Besides being a prominent religious center, the city of Heracleion was the main trading point on the Mediterranean.
This was in the 6th century. When they started diving this site, archaeologists discovered ruins of the temple of Heracleion which. It dedicated to Amun and Heracles-Khonsu. They also found giant statues of gods, Ptolemaic kings and their consorts. They found also pottery, jeweler, and many wrecked wooden ships. Abu Qir sunken cities include also Canopus. Canopus was the site where the goddess Isis believed to have found the last part of Osiris’s savaged body. Ancient Egyptians believed that Osiris murdered by his jealous brother Seth. He scattered the dismembered parts of his body all over Egypt.
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According to Egyptian mythology, Isis succeeded in finding the scattered pieces and placed them in a vase which. The vase kept at Canopus. Abu Qir sunken cities has hundreds of Graeco-roman amphorae. Abu Qir Sunken cities attests the extensive trade connections between Egypt and the Roman Empire. Alexandria and numerous NGOs in cooperation with UNESCO are working Abu Qir sunken cities to build an underwater museum. This to showcase the artifacts to the public. Archaeological dives to the site of Abu Qir sunken cities arranged through the Montaza Diving center in Alexandria.