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Qiandao Lake underwater world

By Wei Xi (Global Times)

09:09, May 07, 2012

submerged city of of Shi Cheng

After a century or so of residing in the north Atlantic Ocean, the Titanic had just about dissipated from the public radar until director James Cameron turned her into a blockbuster movie in 1997. China has its own version of the Titanic. Recently, a five-day live broadcast co-launched by China Central Television and Zhejiang Satellite Television featured Shi Cheng, a thousand-year-old ancient town at the bottom of Qiandao Lake in East China's Zhejiang Province.

Along with He Cheng, a town built in 208 AD, Shi Cheng was submerged for over 60 years. Attention to the submerged town is now being brought back to the surface.

Submerged towns

While Qiandao Lake has attracted attention for decades for its serene environment, few Chinese people knew about the ancient towns under the lake. In 1959, in order to build the Xin'anjiang Reservoir, Shi Cheng and He Cheng were covered by water. Half a century later, when Xin'anjiang Reservoir became a backup hydropower station, the ancient towns began attracting attention.

In 2001, Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism, discussed ways to provide entertainment on Qiandao Lake with a Beijing-based diving club. He thought about utilizing the towns.

"I asked them if their divers could dive into the water and have a look at the towns."

Qiu remembers the first time they tried to find the ancient towns, on September 18, 2001. "We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick," Qiu told Guangzhou Daily in an interview.

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