10 Lost Islands


Vordonisi – Reappeared After 1,000 Years

Maiden's Tower
The Maiden's Tower situated on an inlet in the Mamara Sea, Turkey was built during the Byzantine period, just like the monastery on Vordonisi. Ayhan Altun/Getty Images

Vordonisi, an island in Turkey's Mamara Sea, vanished in 1010 C.E. after an earthquake. But in 2013, seismic activity apparently caused the sunken land to begin to rise again [source: Atherton].

Before it disappeared, the island, just 1 square mile (2.5 square kilometers) in area, was the site of a monastery built by a Byzantine patriarch named Photius I, in 886. Photius had been banished to the island by Byzantine Emperor Leo VI, because of accusations that Photius had participated in a conspiracy against Leo's predecessor, Basil I [source: Atherton].

After researchers identified the site from ancient maps, divers photographed the underwater ruin. Ali Kılıç, mayor of the Istanbul district of Maltepe, told a Turkish newspaper that he hoped the island would be recognized by the United Nations and earn a spot on its World Heritage List [source: Anadolu Agency].

In 2016, just a few visual traces of the island can be spotted — flashes of light on the water over it, which are caused by reflections from the top of the sunken monastery. But archaeologists hope to uncover more.