The Strait of Otranto is a 45-mile stretch of water that separates the ‘heel’ of Italy from Albania at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea. It is also one of a number of proposed locations for the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ referred to by Plato. However, proponents of this idea are not agreed on the location of Atlantis, Fatih Hodži? places Atlantis in the Southern Adriatic Basin, while more recently, Alessio Toscano has opted for the northeastern Adriatic. An anonymous contributor to the all empires website(a) has an extensively illustrated entry, which designates the Albanian city of Durres as Atlantis and notes the multiplicity of locations that have referred to as the ‘Pillars of Heracles’, including the Strait of Otranto.
The Adriatic Sea was mainly dry land during the last Ice Age until it was inundated between 8500-6000 BC. The last decade has seen a number of sites in the Adriatic region nominated as possible locations for Atlantis. A sunken town near Zadar would appear to be the latest candidate(d).
Fatih Hodzic, a Slovenian writer, has offered of a new theory(a), which places Atlantis in the southern Adriatic Basin. He contends that the destruction of Atlantis was a consequence of an asteroid impact, recorded in Greek mythology as Phaëton, impacting in either the Ionian or the Tyrrhenian Sea just west of Sicily.
The Italian side of the Adriatic has also had claims made of an association with Atlantis such as with Valbruna.*Daniela Bortoluzzi has written a lengthy article suggesting a possible link between Atlantis and Venice(h).*More detailed is the claim by Morven Robertson that Atlantis had been situated between Padua and Ferrara, not far from Venice.
Mljet is a Croatian island close to Dubrovnik and believed by some to be Homer’s Ogygia, which in turn has been identified as Atlantis. This same island offers a competing claim to be the place where St. Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome, rather than Malta. At the risk of offending my Maltese friends, I consider the Mljet claim to have some considerable merit. Apart from anything else, at that time ships, for reasons of safety, preferred to stay close to shore, which suggests that to use the Strait of Otranto would provide the shortest open sea journey available, after that the Strait of Messina would bring them straight up the Italian coast to Rome! I find it hard to understand how at any point on that route that a storm could have threatened to carry them to Syrtis Minor (Southern Tunisia) which was about 400 miles at the nearest point.
Dubrovnik was recently claimed to have a number of pyramids in its vicinity by Pero Metkovic as well as the location of Atlantis. His rather rambling blog(g) offers no evidence apart from over-imaginative speculation.
Another claim is that satellite imagery has revealed a network of lines near Durrés, west of Tirana in Albania, which are the remnants of Plato’s Atlantean canals. The co-ordinates are 41.08-41.02 N and 19.23 E. A blogsite(b) is also home to a number of articles adding support for this Durrés theory.
While the above suggestions are interesting, they are not convincing. Does it not seem strange that had Atlantis been located in the Adriatic, next door to Greece, that the Greeks in general and Plato in particular would have been unaware of it?
The Adriatic was also the backdrop to Homer’s Odyssey according to a new book by Zlatko Mandzuka, himself a native of the region. Even more radical is the claim that Troy itself had been located in Bosnia-Herzegovina or adjacent Croatia, the former by Roberto Salinas Price in 1985, while more recently the latter is promoted by Vedran Sinožic.
When the sunken ruins of a city, dated to around 1500 BC were discovered in 2015, near Croatia’s oldest city, Zadar, it generated the usual flurry of Atlantis speculation.
There was a media report(f) in early 2017 in which Mark Kempf claimed to have discovered the remains of Atlantis 30 miles off the coast of Croatia. Kempf is a treasure hunter and hopes that the discovery by him and his team will yield a fortune. I consider this report to be somewhat dubious.
Bosnia was dragged into the Atlantis debate in 2006 when a self-styled archaeologist, Semir Osmanagic, claimed that he had discovered five pyramids in his ancestral Bosnia near the town of Visoko. His claim received widespread media coverage and sparked a debate that continues today.
Osmanagic maintains that the largest one is bigger than the Great Pyramid at Giza, and that the Bosnian pyramids date to 12,000 B.C. In response Archaeology Magazine noted that “Construction of massive pyramids in Bosnia at that period is not believable. Curtis Runnels, a specialist in the prehistory of Greece and the Balkans at Boston University, notes that “Between 27,000 and 12,000 years ago, the Balkans were locked in the last Glacial maximum, a period of very cold and dry climate with glaciers in some of the mountain ranges. The only occupants were Upper Paleolithic hunters and gatherers who left behind open-air camp sites and traces of occupation in caves.”(j)
The Atlantis connection emerged from the belief of Osmanagic that the original ancestors of the Maya, Basques and other ancient peoples were descended from the peoples of Atlantis and Lemuria whose founders arrived on earth from the Pleiades. According to Osmanagic’s strange logic this gives the ‘pyramids’ of Bosnia an Atlantean pedigree.
Fortunately, Mark Rose, editor of Archaeology, who published a critical review(a) of Osmanagic’s weird ideas in Archaeology magazine, was also widely quoted, adding some balance to the debate. The same magazine carried a brief but highly critical review of Osmanagic’s theories from Zahi Hawass(h).
In 2006, Robert Schoch visited the Bosnian ‘pyramid’ and subsequently wrote a highly critical assessment of Osmanagic and his theories. However, some time later, Osmanagic responded with a scathing review(c) of Schoch’s work!
In September 2014 the Science Channel aired an episode of The Unexplained Files series in the US, which attempted to justify Osmanagic’s claims. However, Jason Colavito has highlighted the many flaws in the program’s content(d).
A more sober attempt to link the Bosnian region with Atlantis has been made by Fatih Hodzic(b). Part of his theory attempts to identify the thousands of stone blocks or ‘stecaks’, spread widely in Bosnia, as remnants of Atlantean buildings. His ideas are interesting but unconvincing.
In 2014, Paul A. LaViolette visited the Visko pyramid in Bosnia and published an extensive illustrated article in which he expressed his amazement at what he saw there and concluded(g) that he considers “this to be one of the most important archaeological excavations going on at this time on our planet.”
Philip Coppens has also defended the reality of Osmanagic’s pyramids in The Lost Civilization Enigma[1275.39], nevertheless, the debate is still open as can be seen in a February 2016 blog(f), in which many reasonable questions relating to the construction of the ‘pyramids are still unresolved. For my part, I find Osmanagic’s personal credibility questionable, considering his previous claims regarding Atlantis and ancient aliens, which are not, in my view, the conclusions of a person with his critical faculties intact.
Another claim from Osmanagic emerged in April 2016, when he claimed that huge stone spheres that exist in Bosnia ‘prove’ the existence of an advanced civilisation more than 1,500 years ago(e)!
>Nevertheless, a pretty vigorous defence of the reality of the Bosnia pyramids was published by Richard Hoyle on the Ancient Origins website in January 2020(k).<
Late 2018 saw the UK’s Express tabloid’s online edition entertain us with the headline(I) – Bosnian pyramid SHOCK: ancient civilisation received knowledge from SPACE.
(f) See: Archive 3187