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


There are more than just one city that were sunken. You also must remember about the roads in the Bahamas, Minos Island in Greece, Japan, several cities along coast line of India, and of course, the land mass north of Europe that was connecting UK to Europe and Nordic countries. To me, clearly sea water level were much lower in the past. I know scientists will not accept Christian Biblical account of the Great Flood and period before the flood. Let's listen for now. You see, I figured this that I do not think many knew this: there were larger land mass before the Great Flood and they did not rain before the flood. The world's first rain was during Noah's time. There are so many stories about global flooding in tribes stories so it CAN back up the Biblical story.

You see, the water used to be in the ground and it was uprooted spouting out of the ground in great force. It liquified land because of the quakes to break open the water. land sank because they were sink holes. It collapse. Then you see, now water is ON top of land instead of UNDER ground. It is flipping over slowly now. More water, less land. People in science are correct on that part. They should figure it out about the flood.

If you were taught that the continental shelf were there around continents, that was the old coastal lines before the Great Flood. Some were dramatically changed coastal line due to disasters. Modern day incident of city or land sinking was evidenced with Japan quake and the waves destruction few years ago that part of Japan was actually sunken into sea.

New Orleans should have been a sunken city because it is sinking slowly and because of the breach of its dike, it was clearly in entire America's history that the land was actually sunken.

Holland is another. Rising sea would actually buried that country long ago if there were dikes and barriers.

See, those quick landscaping changes can occur.

Now back to the Cuban sunken city with the buildings still intact, likely it was built on low lands and could have caused by several factors including hurricane flooding, sinking, (remember those area including Florida has no rocks and were perhaps floating like Florida is) and had sink holes.

That lost city was more like New Orleans, Holland, and other ancient sunken cities and land.

Lost Atlantis? Maybe because Plato said it is situated near two pillars or 2 land mass. It was between Cuba and Mexico. Plato said it happened so much longer ago and they said sunken city happened so much longer ago too... so it made sense it HAS to be Atlantis.

Now with the opening to Cuba for American government and people, maybe we can get something more about this city? I pray so!

If Port Royal can sink into the sea, I see it as possible that Cuba's city could have also. I understand the question of destruction, but is it possible that an entire "shelf" just "fell off"? I'm no scholar, but I think we should be looking at different possible scenarios.

Google actively airbrushes the satellite views of the world map. You can see crystal clear images of the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico directly next to blurred airbrushed light blue. The oceans obviously rose drastically at some time in the past. The old 'land' masses are well defined. The gulf of Mexico was much smaller at some time in the distant past. When? Well, mainstream science isn't talking because that would upset their 'linear advancement' doctrine. It would also provide evidence of ancient cultures and destroy the biblical meme of the 5-6000 year old earth. Religion has a large stake in keeping ancient civilization out of the picture and covered up. If I were one of the weathiest institutions on the planet, and I made my fortune on lies, I'd labor to keep truth covered up too.

It's being ignored because it doesn't fit into 'science's party line'.

Hi UPNYTT, I agree with you - I also believe that the topology of the land has changed drastically. This phenomenon is mentioned in the Book of Mormon, which most people dismiss as a "religious" book. Obviously, it IS primarily a religious book, but it's also a historical record of the ancient Americas, so it's pretty interesting secularly as well. A couple of chapters that mention the topological changes on this continent (if you are interested) are the the 14th chapter of the book of Helaman (Google "Helaman 14") and the 8th chapter of the book of Third Nephi ("3 Nephi 8").

I agree with you since my sister owned a farm on a hill in Lafayette, NY and we climbed this hill where the fossils of sea floor shells used to be around. Well, I am from Syracuse, NY and the Sea Level at the airport is 536 feet above sea level. Add more height in Lafayette. Perhaps at 575 to 600 feet above where those fossils are and it is quite interesting find you would find fossils up high and old ruins of cities in the water like the Sunken City of Cuba. There are many other cities under seas like in India, Japan, Southeast Asia, the Northern Europe between UK and the Nordic countries that was featured in Nat Geo magazine not too long ago.

I have a theory that sea level were much lower at some point and several times at different levels. So, I totally understands your point of view.


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