(Images: Chinese National Geography via china.org.cn)
In its article Underwater Wonders of the World, WebUrbanist wrote that “China’s submerged Lion City may be the most spectacular underwater ruins of the world, at least until more of Alexandria is explored.”
Known locally as Shi Cheng, the ancient city lies in 85-131 feet of water beneath Qiandao Lake (aka Thousand Island Lake).
But these images don’t represent some chance find by divers. The valley in which Shi Cheng is located was actually flooded in 1959 for the massive Xin’an River Dam construction.
Only in China, you might think!
But on the positive side, the sunken city, which covers an area roughly equivalent to 62 football fields, has become a serious tourist attraction.
Tour operators offer boat trips and weekend diving packages, and various concepts such as suspended floating tunnels have been submitted to allow more casual tourists to explore the ruins of Lion City.
Built in the shadow of Wu Shi (Five Lion) Mountain during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-200 AD), Shi Sheng boasts 265 arches and spectacular relief sculptures preserved within the submerged ruins.
Eerily complete, divers and international archaeologists have termed the ruins a ‘time capsule’ – a term often used in relation to abandoned places and ancient ruins, but in this case well worthy of the title.
In the spring of 1963, already popular from his big-screen breakout as one of The Magnificent Seven and just a couple months away from entering the Badass Hall of Fame with the release of The Great Escape, Steve McQueen was on the brink of superstardom.
Intrigued by his dramatic backstory and his off-screen exploits — McQueen was a reformed delinquent who got his thrills racing cars and motorcycles — LIFE sent photographer John Dominis to California to hang out with the 33-year-old actor and, in effect, see what he could get.
Three weeks and more than 40 rolls of film later, Dominis had captured some astonishing images — photos impossible to imagine in today’s utterly restricted-access celebrity universe.
Here, a series of pictures from what Dominis would look back on as one of his favorite assignments, along with insights about the time he spent with the man who would soon don the mantle, “the King of Cool.”
Shot at Moran Point, Grand Canyon. Everything about these pictures was a surprise. It was literally hitting me like lightning, showing me that moments of significance cannot be planned or forseen. They can only be received.