Atlantis is one of the world's greatest mysteries. To many, its very name evokes a mystical sense of familiarity and lost memories. It is said to be the lost Atlantic continent, the first home of civilisation, an earthly paradise, struck down by a natural catastrophe at the height of its power, and now lying deep under the ocean, with only the tops of its mountains protruding from the ocean floor.
To others, Atlantis is merely a legend, invented by Plato, the Greek philosopher, as a backdrop for two of his dialogues: Timaeus and Critias.
Another belief is that Atlantis was a true precursor of the early civilisations and not located in the Atlantic at all, but instead occupying some other location, like the Greek islands of Crete or Santorini, as opposed to the Azores, Madeira, or the Canary Islands
The name Atlantis derives from atlas, the giant Greek God who is said to have supported the sky. In Greek, Atlantis means "Daughter of Atlas".
According to Plato, Atlantis was a garden of Eden with an abundance of precious minerals and crystals, particularly orichalcium which was red in colour and considered more valuable than gold. This earthly paradise was a combination of mighty mountains, fertile plains, rivers, marshes and lakes with a thriving population and many species of animals, including elephants.Wood was plentiful for the carpenters. Herbs, flowers, and fruit grew and thrived, being used both as food and for medicinal purposes. The Atlanteans constructed temples, palaces, harbours and docks. They utilized the natural white, black and red stone that were quarried from underneath the centre of the island. Some of their buildings were simple, while others were very elaborate, coated and decorated with gold, brass, tin and the red orichalcium. They built a temple covered with gold and silver pinnacles dedicated to Poseidon, the God of sea, earthquakes and horses. Its ceiling was made of ivory whilst the walls and pillars were lined with orichalcium. There were many statues of gold including the main statue, from floor to ceiling, of Poseidon himself standing in a chariot with six winged horses.
Fountains of hot and cold springs were to be found amidst suitable trees and decorations and relaxing spas. These were used separately by the kings, public and even the horses and cattle! There were many lovely gardens and places of exercise including a horse racing course.
The large and busy harbour bustled with vessels and merchants from all parts of the world.
The surrounding mountains of great height and beauty were inhabited by the wealthy villagers. The meadows, rivers and lakes provided enough food for everyone. It really was the land of plenty!
The large rectangular plain played an important part in this civilization. Straight canals, a hundred feet in width, were cut into it to transport wood and the fruits of the earth down into the city from the mountains.
The inhabitants were divided into groups with leaders who were responsible for their own particular area. For many generations, the people obeyed the laws and possessed true and great spirits, practicing gentleness and wisdom. They lived a very divine life, enjoying their gold and possessions but not abusing them. They believed in friendship and led an almost "idyllic" existence in this land of "milk and honey". Legend says there were many crystal healers, masseurs and therapists, working for the well-being of their fellowman.
A Hopi myth describes Atlantis as a land in which great cities were created and crafts flourished, but when the people became corrupt and warlike, a great flood destroyed their world. It is thought that eventually the Atlanteans did change their peaceful ways and became aggressive with each other. That is when disaster struck!