Modern day Atlantis: Inside the 75-year-old Soviet floating city


A Soviet-era city that broke records for being the site of the world’s first offshore oil well, is now slowly crumbling into the sea.

Oil Rocks, also known as Neft Dashlari, is on its way to becoming a modern day Atlantis.

Located in the Caspian sea, the vast floating city is about 55km from Azerbaijan‘s coast and 120km from Baku, falling within the capital city’s limits.

It was built by the Soviets in 1949 after engineers discovered black gold, thousands of feet beneath the Caspian’s sea bed.

Oil production began in 1951 and the unique city later earned it’s title as oldest offshore oil platform.

The project was comissioned by Joseph Stalin before he went on to develop Russia’s Siberian oil operations.

It was and still is no small operation – Neft Dashlari covers around 17 miles, and is home to around two thousand workers, three hundred kilometers of roads and 256 individual oil wells.

The artificial archipelago also boasts a nine-storey apartment complex for its workers, as well as other facilities to complete the city, including a park, restaurants, hotels, a museum, a bakery, a cinema and even a football pitch.

Some of its foundations were even built on sunken ships and at its peak, the artificial city saw over 2,000 drilling platforms producing oil.

In its prime, the city had 5,000 workers, although this has now halved as waves began reclaiming its structure.

The city’s Guinness World Records page reads: ‘Neft Dashlari is an entire functioning town constructed in the Caspian Sea 55km from the coast of Azerbaijan.

‘Construction and development continued until the town included hotels, hostels, a bakery, a power station, and a total of 7 ha of surface area, consisting of separate ‘islands’ connected by more than 200km of trestle bridges, all supported on metal stilts.

‘Although much of Neft Dashlari has been reclaimed by the sea, its rigs still produce oil.’

While it’s not your traditional city, and at first glance it looks like a giant spider on the waves, Oil Rocks is what thousands of people call home – and it’s future is not looking good.

Time has taken its toll on the historical city and by its 100th anniversary in 2051, it could be completely submerged.

Of the 300km road network, only around 45km is still useable, as it slowly crumbles into the waters below.

After new oilfields were discovered elsewhere and its price began to fluctuate, Neft Deshari was sadly left to fall into disrepair, reported German news site Der Spiegel.

Most of the rigs are now out of use and many bridges have collapsed, meaning workers can’t reach them.

The outlet also explained that a worker on Oil Rocks earns roughly $130 a month, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but is actually twice as much as someone doing the same job on the mainland.

But due to submerged constructions, oil leaks and damaged equipment, the plant has not been able to operate effectively for a long time.

The publication detailed that, ‘dismantling Neft Dashlari properly would probably be more expensive than simply keeping it going with a scaled-down oil production.’

With experts estimating that its oil deposits will only last around 20 more years, soon all that will be left of this historical piece of architecture will be a few pieces of metal sticking out of the sea.

There were reports that plans were made to refurbish the city and transform it into a tropical holiday resort, but nothing ever materialised.

So mysterious it doesn’t even appear on Google Maps, the huge labrynth will simply just be a memory.

With a similar story, for more than 2,000 years, the lost city of Atlantis has fascinated treasure hunters and explorers.

But despite countless theories and decades of searching, the lost city has remained stubbornly lost.

While Atlantis itself may be nothing more than a myth, archaeologists have uncovered real sunken cities all over the world.

From a ‘cursed’ town in Germany to a mysterious underwater pyramid in Japan, there are drowned worlds that are stranger than you’d expect.

So if you feel like hunting for some lost civilizations, MailOnline created an interactive map, revealing the lost sunken cities around the world.

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