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Sunken city in Cuba

What Happened to the Sunken City of Cuba?


Just over a decade ago, a team of explorers were working on an exploration and survey mission off the western coast of Cuba when their sonar equipment picked up a perplexing series of stone structures lying some 650 metres below the surface.  The structures appeared completely analogous against the barren ‘desert’ of the ocean floor and seemed to show symmetrically organized stones reminiscent of an urban development. A media flurry soon ensued with news sites sporting headlines such as ‘Atlantis Discovered in Cuba’ and ‘Lost City of the Caribbean Found’. However, the finding also attracted the attention of the government, national museum, and national geographic, who all made promises to investigate the strange sonar images. Now, ten years on, the story has disappeared into obscurity. What ever happened to the sunken ‘ruins’ of Cuba? Were they ever fully investigated? And why has the media fallen silent on this unusual discovery?

The discovery was first made in 2001 when Pauline Zalitzki, a marine engineer, and her husband Paul Weinzweig, owners of a Canadian company called Advanced Digital Communications (ADC), were working on a survey mission in conjunction with the Cuban government off the tip of the Guanahacabibes Peninsula in the Pinar del Río Province of Cuba. ADC was one of four firms working in a joint venture with President Fidel Castro's government to explore Cuban waters, which hold hundreds of treasure-laden ships from the Spanish colonial era. The team was using advanced sonar equipment to scan a 2 square kilometre area of the sea floor when they noticed a series of symmetrical and geometric stone structures resembling an urban complex.

Map of the sunken city in Cuba

Map showing location of supposed ancient city discovered by Paul Weinzweig and Pauline Zalitzki. Image source.

Upon studying the sonar images, Zalitzki observed what appeared to be unusual formations of smooth blocks, crests, and geometric shapes. Some of the blocks looked like they were built in pyramid shapes, others were circular. 

In July 2001, they returned to the site with geologist Manuel Iturralde, senior researcher of Cuba's Natural History Museum, this time equipped with a Remotely Operated Vehicle to examine and film the structures. The images revealed large blocks of stone resembling hewn granite, measuring about 8 feet by 10 feet. Some blocks appeared deliberately stacked atop one another, others appeared isolated from the rest. Zalitzki said that the images appeared to reflect the ruins of a submerged city but was reluctant to draw any conclusions without further evidence.

“These are extremely peculiar structures, and they have captured our imagination,” said Iturralde, who has studied countless underwater formations. “But if I had to explain this geologically, I would have a hard time.”

Estimating that it would have taken 50,000 years for such structures to have sunken to the depth at which they were said to be found, Iturralde added "50,000 years ago there wasn't the architectural capacity in any of the cultures we know of to build complex buildings." A specialist in underwater archaeology at Florida State University added "It would be cool if they were right, but it would be real advanced for anything we would see in the New World for that time frame. The structures are out of time and out of place."

In the media storm that followed the announcement of the discovery, news sites were quick to draw parallels with the fabled lost city of Atlantis. However, Zelitsky and Weinzweig were unwilling to make such comparisons.  The story is myth, said Zelitsky. "What we have found is more likely remnants of a local culture," once located on a 100-mile "land bridge" that joined Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula with Cuba.  Iturralde added that there are local legends of the Maya and native Yucatecos that tell of an island inhabited by their ancestors that vanished beneath the waves. Nevertheless, Iturralde does not discount the possibility that the rock formations are merely the result of the wonders of Mother Nature. “Nature is able to create some really unimaginable structures,” he said.

Despite hundreds of media outlets reporting on sunken cities, advanced civilizations, the lost city of Atlantis, and submerged ruins, there are others who are not so willing to accept this point of view.  Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews from the debunking website Bad Archaeology, claimed that the depth of the alleged remains are the biggest problem for the sunken city proponents. During the Pleistocene, which was characterised by a series of ice ages, sea levels dropped significantly, but the maximum drop was around 100 metres .

At no point during the Ice Age would it have been above sea level unless, of course, the land on which they stand has sunk. This is the claim made for Atlantis: according to Plato’s account, it was destroyed “by violent earthquakes and floods”. However, if we take Plato at his word – as we must if we assume Atlantis to have been an historical place – the violence of its sinking makes it improbable that an entire city could have survived plunging more than 600 m into an abyss,” writes Fitzpatrick-Matthews.

If we assume that he is right and that these stone structures do not reflect an ancient submerged city but are simply products of nature, then surely geologists and other scientists would be quick to jump on the finding and investigate what freakish event of nature caused such peculiar formations.  Strangely, however, there have been no reported follow-up investigations and news outlets have gone deathly silent on the matter. What happened to all the promises from the government, national museum, National Geographic, and other scientists to carry out further surveys?

The quick dismissal of the story has led some to question whether there has been a suppression of information regarding the finding. However, Fitzpatrick-Matthews claims the story simply went cold and that in the end experts were not convinced that Zelitsky had really discovered a sunken city.

Featured image: Reconstructed Image taken from the sonar scan of the sea floor off the coast of Cuba.


Bauza, Vanessa (Oct 27, 2002). "Submerged Cuban Ruins May Be Manmade, Experts Say"Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Retrieved 3 October 2012.

Evans, Marcel (2012). ‘Lost city’ found beneath Cuban waters. Costa Rica Star

Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Keith. (2012) An underwater city west of Cuba, Bad Archaeology

Handwerk, Brian., New Underwater Finds Raise Questions About Flood Myths, National Geographic News, May 28, 2002.

Lost city' found beneath Cuban waters, BBC News, 7 December 2001.

By April Holloway



Pete Wagner's picture

There’s a bit of under-water structure that might have, in the past, been more complete and formed a sea barrier to create sub-sea level valley where the ruins now lie.  Same phenomenon appears in some places in the Med, and some say the area around Gibraltar is unnatural (circular craters), showing signs of huge impacts or detonations. 

But we should question this:  “At no point during the Ice Age would it have been above sea level unless, of course, the land on which they stand has sunk" ...because we don’t know for sure.  It is KNOWN that the Ice Age came on SUDDENLY in geological terms, and it is possible that the early years of it lowered sea levels much more than we know, before rising back up as they did.  It might take only a few decades or less (which is a drop in the bucket for the over 100,000 year duration of the Ice Age – which the planet is still emerging/warming back up from) for the ancients to have constructed the complex, not knowing what would become of it.

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

I have a Stars & Stripes article from 1979 telling of the discovery of a pyramid off the coast of Cuba, so why is the talk now that it is a recent discovery?

Impossible for nature to make such diverse geometric forms in one place. If it was impossible for this construction to have been built by humans and it is no longer spoken of by official sources despite the obvious wonder it is, we can only think of a cover-up of an extraterrestrial city based on witnesses of paranormal events in that region called the Triangle of Bermuda.

Ok some say the truth is hidden from us and ask them selve why, i do the same, but lets look upon why this happens.
I personaly think it is all about pride,power and not able to see beyond personal gain.
Most scientist around the world including our world leaders, play a game of power, who has the most power to say what is treu and what is not, after all who who controls the media tells the truth in their opinion, but is not the truth to so many of us as we see it in a different perspective.
They play games over lives who dies and who lives, they dont see it that way beacuse they are clouded by others who say what needs to be done, and all don't seem to see the big picture, we are all human we all breath the same air and walk the same earth, but then why do some destroy the word human in it's fabrick and roots, why do they lie to those who elected them,why don't they see that we all want a better life,for our self and for our children and children's children,a better future for this planet.
You see that the same with archeloegy,scientist,politicians etc etc they think in what they thought was treu at that time, they have learned not step out of those bounderies, or you wil be riddiculed and destroyed.
Yes they live in fear, they don't see it that way, because they just want to live, no questions ask, despite the truth that lies in front of their nose, they choose to remain silent, and that truly is a huge problem around the world, there are to many silent voices, that in term gives power to those who peak their personal mind about what is true and what is not.
I have personaly worked with prof,scientist,nobel price winners, from all around the world, but we all seem to agree that they are guided between rules that might not be true in the first place. they are not allowed to go off track and if they do, they get firred or even die in misterious surcomstences, we all have seen those things happen, if you know where to look for.
Those who lie and hide the truth think they can get away with it, they think they are untouchable, perfect in any way better then you and everyone else, and that is the flaw in their mistakes.
They seem to forget that they are also humans, they are not better then anyone else, they are not god, they just have a god complex, they make mistakes and it is up to you to spot those mistakes, and use it against them to show them how human they are, it makes them go in rage, and start making more mistakes, until the truth reveals it self by one huge mistake that strips them of their power over you and this world.
Thats the same with discoveries, we hear some part of it, and then suddenly it stops, it is up to just one who dares to speak his/her mind who was there and who has the proof.
Thats the same with wiki leaks, now they hide the truth from us, power got to them and they use it as a form of presure to strike fear in those who do not htink for them self but for others who mean harm to us all, they now have become a pupet of their own greed for power.
Now is ask again the question to you do you wish to have a future for this planet, do you want your children to be able to breath fresh air, food on the table and clean water for all.
Then get of your ass, and start casting your words and your thoughts to your elected politicans and emeand the truth, and if they dont see it that way they wil declare martial law, and that is when you have where you want them, because they have shown their true face.
Remember remaining silent is no option any more, out scientist are controled, our politcians have their own agenda, and out world is filled with lies, deaths,wars,and finaly ends up with the destuction of this world, and all that for their short term greed for power and money.
Don't you see, you have become a pupet of lies, they shaped and formed you in a position where they want you to be, silent because of fear, obediant because of fear,tripped of personal thinking because of fear, and it wil end in the death of the human kind because of that same fear that made you silent.
Demand the truth, see threu the lies, look further beyond the lenght of your nose, think of the future of this planet.
Why do you think Ciguatera poisening suddenly pops up,it happens to over fishing, around the pasific island thay know, when they have fished to long at a given spot they have to move along to another spot, or run the risk of gettting Ciguatera poisening, don't you see it's all connected and also here they hide the real thruth whats realy going on.
At this givven rate i'm afraid the world wil be througn back to the stone age, and it wont be long less then 50 years,you will see it if you live that long, the world is going to be a dead planet if we the people do not act, and stop the lies and the real truth is givven to the people that includes the past historyof this planet.
Nature preserves it self, no matter what, and it is just time for nature to strike again with another desease to depopulate the human race, we are with to many, so many that it cannot sustain it self, not enough food clean water at one place, to mutch at anohter place, and who wil die those who have to mutch, for the simple reason that we cannot survive without others, we have l;ost our way as human beeing and it all started with lies and fear, that brought us to the present time of planetary decay.
You wil see, after ebola,birdfleu and others Ciguatera poped out od no where, the next one wil be more deadly then the previous one.
So now you say whe where taking about the sunken city near cube, don't you see they just want to hide the true history, beacuse what happend in the past is happening again right now, it is not the first time that overpopulation killed a state of mind and development, we had seven before us and we are going to be the 8th that again thouws us back in the stone age, we have grown beyond earths capabilty to sustain so many, thats also what happend to that city near cuba, to big to sustain it self.

These structures were sunk at the end of the last Ice Age when a huge amount of water
rushed south from Lake Agassiz, carving the Mississippi River and flooding into the land-
locked Caribbean (it was joined to the Yucatan). The enormous amount of water eroded
the land bridge and the remnant sank in situ. Then the Atlantic could flow in and out of the
Gulf of Mexico. The water became much warmer and began to flow north east up the coast
of America, becoming the Gulf Stream. The Russian explorers of the 70s said that the Gulf
Stream did not flow before 15,000 years ago. When the warm water got up past Iceland, it
caused the melting of the Scandinavian ice cap, which took thousands of years. The Oera
Linda Book records what happened there as the ice melted, forming a huge freshwater lake
that later became sea water when the Baltic Sea joined to the Atantic.


aprilholloway's picture


April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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