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The village of Curon, Italy’s own real-life Atlantis

This Italian village just emerged from a lake. No, we’re not joking

SHARE The village of Curon, Italy’s own real-life Atlantis
The Village of Graun in South Tyrol in northern Italy was destroyed and the valley flooded in 1950, due to damming up the Etsch river to produce electricity.

People walk above the frozen lake ‘Reschensee-Lago di Resia’ around the former church tower of the Village of Graun in South Tyrol in northern Italy, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019.

Matthias Schrader, Associated Press

In 1950, the Italian government decided to merge two nearby lakes to build a hydroelectric power plant. According to the BBC, to do this, authorities needed to evacuate the village in between and flood it by building a dam. The new lake was named Lake Resia and all that remained visible was the village’s 14th-century church steeple, said CBS News and Newsweek.

The flooding of Curon

Located in South Tyrol, an alpine region of Italy near the border with Austria and Switzerland, Curon was home to hundreds of people in 1950. The ancient village had 160 homes. When the Italian government announced the plan to flood the village, residents protested to no avail, says the BBC.

  • When the village went underwater, hundreds of residents were evacuated and displaced, with many choosing to stay in a new nearby town, BBC reported.
  • The 14th-century bell tower stuck out above the water of the newly formed Lake Resia, the only marker of the village below, according to CBS News.

In the following years, Newsweek said the area became a popular tourist attraction for its scenery, blue waters, mountains, and, of course, the lonely steeple. During the winters, Lake Resia froze over, allowing people to walk across the ice to the bell tower.

According to Newsweek and BBC, Lake Resia, the submerged village and its iconic steeple inspired a book and a supernatural Italian Netflix series, “Curon”

  • But Curon was not the only village to be flooded in 1950. The towns of Arlung, Piz, Gorf and Stockerhöfe along the border of Switzerland and Austria were also submerged, according to Newsweek.

Curon emerges

On Tuesday, the BBC reported that the village of Curon is emerging from Lake Resia. The steps, walls and cellars which normally formed the bottom of the lake could be seen by residents and visitors.

Lake Resia was temporarily drained to repair the reservoir, allowing the remnants of Curon to resurface, eroded by decades of being underwater, the BBC and CBS News reported. Locals have explored the rare chance to see the ruins. It's unknown how much longer the lake will be drained, Newsweek said.