Skip to Content

Where is Atlantis? Fact or Fiction? Everything You Need to Know

Living at the coast of the Aegean Sea, I have always been fascinated by ancient cities. As other parents took their kids to son and father other activities, my father took me to the ancient cities. 

My father and I visited many ancient Greek cities, observed excavations and all those ancient monuments. Since then the wonders of the ancient era continued to fascinate. 

Yet, most of these ancient cities remain buried. I live in Manisa (ancient name: Magnesia ad Sipylum) and I can tell you 10 ancient cities waiting to be excavated in a 20 miles radius. But “Where is Atlantis?” is a different question.

Many speculations exist about the whereabouts of the legendary city of Atlantis. Some believe the Atlantis is near the Mediterranean sea between the islands of Crete, Santorini, Cyrus, and Malta. Another majority believe Atlantis lies in the Atlantic Ocean between America and Europe.  

In this article, I summarized all the things we know about Atlantis so far and its place in our culture.

Map of the Ancient World based on Herodotus’ description of the world circa 450 BC Source

Is Atlantis Real? Or Fiction?

Most of the things written about Atlantis are fiction. Yet, there could be truth behind the fictional stories of Atlantis and Atlantis may be real. The main proof of Atlantis’ existence is Philosopher Plato’s works of Timaeus and Critias.

In Timaeus and Critias, Plato speaks of an Atlantic civilization. Below are the main points that Plato mentioned in his texts. 

  • An island in front of the pillars of Heracles (probably Gibraltar)
  • Larger than Libya and Asia (known parts of Africa and Asia)
  • a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.
  • 12500 years ago, Atlanteans conquered Libya, Egypt, and some parts of Europe
  • Athenians led an alliance of resistors against the Atlantean empire. Athenian allies lost. Yet, Athens successfully resisted the Atlantean Empire and liberated some of the occupied lands.
  • After the war, by a single day of earthquakes and floods, the Atlantean Empire was destroyed and their island disappeared in the depths of the sea.

Some historians believe Ancient Egyptian records mention Atlantis and Plato learned Atlanteans from Egyptians. 

Thera eruption destroyed many Minoan settlements and brought the downfall of the Minoan civilization. Dolphins in the Minoan Palace. Source

Additionally, the massive volcanic eruption that occurred in the Thera island (Southern Aegean Sea) circa 1650 BC fits the event described by Plato. The tsunami created by the eruption of Thera on Santorini island could be the reason that destroyed Atlantean civilization and the island of Atlantis.

Thera volcanic eruption and its massive tsunami destroyed nearly all coastal settlements in the Aegean Sea.

Where is Atlantis?

Because Plato stated that Atlantis is beyond the Pillars of Hercules, most believe that Atlantis is on the west side of the Gibraltar Strait in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Another majority believes Atlantis in the Aegean Sea was destroyed by the eruption of Thera. Yet there are more theories.

Santorini island, where Volcanic Mountain Thera is located, is another place that could be Atlantis. Thera eruption destroyed most of Santorini Island.

You can still see how Thera’s eruption destroyed the island.

Yet, there are more theories about the place of Atlantis. Here is a summary of other possible locations.

  • Land-based areas such as Troy, Tantalis, Tartessos, Northwestern Africa were referred to as possible locations. Tantalus is my hometown, according to legends, Atlanteans had a cave network in the local Sipylum Mountain and Atlanteans machines still continue to be working inside the mountain. Today, Treasure hunters still search the mountain around the mountain.
  • Some areas of the Black sea were also proposed as Atlantis locations. 
  • In 2011, a team led by Professor Richard of Hartford discovered evidence of Atlantis in southwestern Andalusia while working on a documentary for the National Geographic Channel. The team speculated that Atlantis was destroyed by a gigantic tsunami.
  • Rainer W. Kühne, a German researcher, proposed a similar theory based on satellite imagery, which locates Atlantis in the Marismas de Hinojos, north of Cádiz. 
  • Islands near the Strait of Gibraltar have all been proposed as possible candidates. Bahamas, Canary Islands, and Madeira Island were also speculated as Atlantis since they were near the Straits of Gibraltar.
  • There are hypotheses that the location is identified as Doggerland in the north sea, Ireland and Sweden. 
From Ignatius L. Donnelly’s Atlantis: the Antediluvian World, 1882. Ignatius theorized the possible location and extent of the Atlantean Empire.

Among various speculations about Atlantis, there is no valid proof about its location, yet the researchers could not ignore exploring the mystery island. 

Story Atlantis

In his book. Plato wrote that he heard about the history of Atlantis from his grandfather, which had happened 9,000 years ago. 

From the island, people traveled to the continent on the other side. Since Atlantis Island was surrounded by the sea, they used ships as a mode of travel. 

Plato in his book mentioned that the creators of Atlantis were half-human and godly creatures. Atlanteans developed civilization and the people lived in royal palaces. The island contained gold, precious metals, and exotic wild animals. 

The City of Atlantis was built by Poseidon for his wife. Plato described that the island had rich center plains with a central hill surrounded by water and land.

The people who lived in the city were Half-god and Half-humans. The island was beautiful and extremely fertile, and it is believed to be a self-sufficient island.

Atlas was the first ruler of the land of Atlantis. Over many generations, the race prospered and conquered the areas surrounding the Mediterranean sea.

Atlas was the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea. Atlas is the first ruler of Atlantis and the name father of the Atlantic Ocean. (a Screenshot from DC’s Aquaman)

Atlantis had trees, metals, plenty of food, and it became home to a variety of animals, including elephants. The people of Atlantis lived luxurious lives, and they domesticated animals and irrigated their crops. 

The cities were created with harbors, big temples, and the bridges and canals were built with walls. The island was built with harbors and fine temples. Due to the abundance of resources, the city was then decorated with bronze and tin.

A temple to Poseidon stood in the heart of the city, completely covered in silver and with an ivory roof. 

The Poseidon Temple was then encircled by a pure gold wall and adorned with golden statues. There were hot and cold water fountains with a horse racing track, bathhouses, gymnasia, and a large fleet of naval ships on the island. 

This is how Atlantis would look, if it had survived. (A screenshot from Aquaman Movie)

Their army could cover a force of 10,000 chariots due to the large population. The Atlantean race was the most populous, technologically advanced, powerful, and rich race that had ever existed. 

Plato ended his writing by saying that Atlantis was defeated by the Athenians in war. 

People who lived in Atlantis island were highly advanced, moral, and spiritual people, and later they became immoral. So the superior power punished them by destroying the island. 

Finally, Atlantis was swept into the sea by earthquakes and floods never to be seen again.

Even though multiple locations were referred to as Atlantis, Plato’s writings are the only proof of existence till today.

Poseidon and Atlantis – How and Why Posedion created Atlantis?

Plato also mentions Poseidon, the god, as the greater power of Atlantis island.

Poseidon is the God of the sea, earthquakes, horses, storms, and the creator of the city of Atlantis. Poseidon built Atlantis because he fell in love with a woman named Cleito. 

It is believed that before Poseidon traveled the entire world to find the biggest island to build the city of Atlantis. While he was traveling, he found the island of Atlantis island. 

Poseidon loved the beautiful and intelligent people of Atlantis and fell in love with an Atlantean named and married her.

Poseidon built Atlantis city on the top of a hill named after her spouse. Cleito Hill was a large hill on the island encircled by great pillars and massive water surfaces and securely guarded. 

Poseidon sculpture in Copenhagen, Denmark. Source Wikipedia

Poseidon and Cleito had ten sons together; the eldest son named Atlas became the first ruler of the city of Atlantis. 

A colossal golden statue of Poseidon riding a chariot, carried by winged horses, and the temple of Poseidon was built in the city.

The temple was built with spirals, and the statue was placed at the top of it.

Posideon built the palace that is surrounded by sea and there were five tunnels found in the palace of Atlantis. 

Atlantis also had a massive canal connecting the water rings to the ocean. Ships could easily pass through these tunnels and every road into the city was secured and guarded by gates and towers.

Historians and archaeologists have proposed numerous theories about the lost city over the years, but no evidence exists to support any of them.