Ancient city under water for centuries
Bailly is an ancient Roman city located northwest of Naples. What makes it different from other ancient Roman cities is that it hosted many emperors, including Julius Caesar. The city, flooded by volcanic vents, was discovered in 1940 by Raimondo Boucher, an Italian Air Force pilot. Let’s explore the ancient Roman ruins in and around the sunken city of Bailly, once the favorite city of Rome’s most prominent people!
History of the sunken city of Bailly
The first settlement in Baiae dates back to BC. Although it coincides with the 2nd century BC, the city gained real fame during the reign of Emperor Augustus. While August connected all the luxury villas in the area with a road, the houses were also equipped with large thermal baths. Augustus’ successors Nero, Hadrian and Alexander Severus also continued to expand and develop the city of Bailly, building large villas and entertainment centers over the years.
As can be understood from here, Bailly became the city where the noble people of Rome lived and unlimited parties were held. Located above the natural vents of volcanoes, the city was especially famous for its healing hot springs. It is known that the most famous figures of antiquity, such as Nero, Cicero and Caesar, often visited Baiae, and many of them even built summer villas here.
Known as the ancient Roman equivalent of Las Vegas, and also known as the “City of Caesar”, this glamorous life in Bahia ended with the sacking of the city in the 8th century. By 1500, the city was gradually abandoned due to both its suitability for volcanic eruptions and the malaria epidemic. Shortly after it was abandoned, the water level slowly rose due to volcanic vents and the Bayi disappeared into the shallow waters of the bay.
Italian pilot spotted the sunken city for the first time while flying low
In the 19th century, ancient Roman ruins were occasionally found in the area. In the 1920s, the discovery of marble statues while dredging off Pozzuoli caught the attention of the Italian leader of the day, Benito Mussolini, and he wanted the area to be evacuated. The real discovery of the city took place in 1940. Flying low over the port of Portus Julius, Italian Air Force pilot Raimondo Baucher discovered Bailly, which he called “a strange ghost town.”
Aerial photographs of Boucher, who was also a freediver, showed Bayi with extraordinary clarity. The fact that the water was 1.5 meters deep and the sea was perfectly clear that day opened up a world that had not been known until that time.
Excavations in and around the sunken city of Bayeux began in 1959, but the main work was done in the early 1980s. During this work, the Nymphaeum was found – a room filled with marble statues, built by the emperor Claudius. Since then, dozens of historical artifacts have been discovered by archaeologists.
Baths, fountains, luxurious houses, mosaics and statues are just a small part of them, but among the artifacts found there is a very valuable inscription, namely L Pisonis. Although Piso thinks this is how he will become emperor, Nero cancels his visit to Bailly because he has learned of an assassination plot.
Today Bailly has become an important tourist destination after the archaeological excavations.
Located in the Gulf of Naples, Bailly has today become an important tourist center after archaeological excavations. Every year thousands of tourists come here to see the sunken city of Bailly. Excursions are organized at sea in glass-bottom boats, and the magical underwater city can be explored with diving organizations.
Some visitors watch the sunken city while snorkelling. During these tours you can see villas, baths, mosaics, sculptures and many other works of prominent Roman families. Although the walls of some buildings have collapsed, the rooms can still be distinguished. The mosaic floors of many rooms have survived to this day.
Places to visit around the sunken city of Baye👇
In addition to the underwater archaeological park in Baiae, there are many Roman ruins that you can visit. The most popular of them:
Temple of Mercury
The Temple of Mercury had the largest dome in the world at 21.5 meters until the Pantheon was built. The temple with the oldest known concrete dome dates back to BC. It was built in the 1st century from tuff blocks.
Temple of Diana
The Temple of Diana, which today has a gigantic dilapidated dome, was used for thermal baths in the ancient Roman period. The walls of the temple are decorated with friezes depicting hunting scenes.
Temple of Venus
Temple of Venus, BC It was built in 46 BC. Julius Caesar for the Roman goddess Venus. The building, badly damaged in a fire in 80 AD, was rebuilt by Domitian and rebuilt by Trajan in 113 AD. Its 3 surviving columns contain fragments of the last restoration.
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