Baiae, Las Vegas of the Ancient Roman Empire era, is famous for the nickname paradise of the world and was the place for the rich and powerful to fulfill their worldly desires and was located at the present day Gulf of Naples, Italy.
Today, Part of Baiae’s lost to sea because of volcanic eruption that caused the coastline to retreat inwards and submerged the city.
The rich Romans used to spend the weekend in the city mainly on parties, drugs, and gambling. Some of them even built luxury villas in the beach area, with complete amenities such as spa and mosaic pool in order to fulfill their wildest wishes. Not surprisingly, some even ordered the construction of nymphaeum, a stone monument, like a cave, filled with marble statues, dedicated to ‘earthly pleasures’.
A myth of City devastated by the immorality of mankind is not a new story that we hear. The story of Pompeii, another ancient city near Naples, renowned for hedonistic culture also suffered a similar fate. Though Baiae is not as popular as the city of Atlantis, whose existence is questionable, Baiae’s exquisite statues and rich mosaics are definitely a worthy attraction for divers and archaeologists.
5. The City Of Paradise For The Rich.
The beautiful and glamorous city of ancient times flourished into an entertainment place at end of the Roman republic. Rich Romans and Rulers like Julius Caeser, Nero, Caligula spent their favorite times on this land which provided all hedonistic activities in a package. Underwater archaeology study describes this sin city is correlated to ancient Las Vegas.
4. Baiae Is One Of The World’s Historical Witnesses
The entertainment city, 30 kilometers from Naples was a magnet for poets, musicians, celebrities, generals, politicians and anyone who was affluent. The great Roman epoch, Cicero, composed his speech at his home near the bay while the poet Virgil and Pliny Naturalist had a house that was located not far from public baths that supposed to make them younger.
Baiae’s history is also covered by political drama. Cleopatra escaped from Baiae after Julius Caesar was killed in 44 BC.
Meanwhile, Julia Agrippina planned to kill her own husband, Claudius in order to make her own son, Nero as the next Roman Emperor. Agrippina poisoned Claudius with poisonous mushrooms. However, Claudius persisted but this did not stop Agrippina. On the same night, she ordered her physician to make a sweet toxic pumpkin snack which ended Claudius’s life.
3. Destroyed Because of The Sin of Mankind
Water with mineral deposits and warm climates attracted the attention of Ancient Rome to visit Baiae since the middle of the 2nd century BC. At that time, the city was called Phlegraean Land (volcano) because of the fracture of the volcanic crater found there.
The ancient Greeks and Romans considered the edge of the caldera as the entrance to the underworld. Moreover, Baiae was also filled with rapid technological developments, such as the invention of waterproof cement made from a mixture of limestone and volcanic rocks. This prompted many people to use it to create the giant dome, facade or marble exterior, fish pond, and luxurious bathroom.
Baiae’s reputation as a ‘sinful city’ carries a legend that explains due to curse and sin of people in this place which resulted in the natural occurrence of a volcanic activity that ceased its existence.
Scientifically speaking, this ancient urban area has undergone many changes on its land surface. Over the centuries and through volcanic events, its surface had ascended and descended due to a geothermal and seismic motion.
2. The Eruption Of The Volcano Destroyed The Town Of Baiae
Behind the magical excitement in this city, there was a dark fate awaiting an explosion like a time bomb. Yes, the town of Baiae was destroyed by a volcanic disaster and sank into the sea floor with several people.
Baiae is located in such a volcanic region called bradyseism (decent in part of the Earth’s surface from magma entering or leaving underground chambers) that forced its change. At 5th century AD, the city was in bad condition due to the shifting ground, and eventually, the entire port disappeared completely under the sea. Then, in the 8th century AD, Muslim invaders led by Sultan Salahuddin demolished the city. Finally, an eruption created the Monte Nuovo (New Mountain), which diminished Lake Lucrino and destroyed a nearby town.
1. The Remnant Of Baiae Civilization, Today Has Become A Culturally Preserved Site.
The public began to pay attention to this historic site, since the 1940s when it published a series of regional photographs showing the appearance of the city site, below sea level.
It took two decades later for the Italian government to begin ‘protecting’ it seriously through underwater research assisted by the Navy.
The archaeological site only pointed to a protected area in 2002 after a three-dimensional mapping showing some important findings, such as the round buildings and gigantic terraces, including the Venus Temple, which is not actually a temple but a thermal bath.
Currently, due to the movement of the earth’s plates, this historic site is in a more shallow area, which is as deep as 6 meters. This facilitates the access of tourists to enjoy it from glass-lined vessels or “video-Braca”. However, diving activities require strict permission because of its status as a protected area.
Author: Sherin Williams