Submerged Great Wall of China – Qianxi County, China - Atlas Obscura

Submerged Great Wall of China

Qianxi County, China

Thanks to the building of a life-giving reservoir, part of the Great Wall of China is now a dive site. 


Accessible only with scuba gear, there is a section of the Great Wall that lies underwater after the area was purposefully flooded to create a source of drinking water.

In 1977, the Chinese government flooded the valley to create the Panjiakou Reservoir. Prior to the flooding, the village was evacuated and the buildings all destroyed but The Wall and a tower still remain. The villagers were moved up the mountainsides and are now fish farmers. One family, whose ancestral home lay at the bottom of the dam, now runs a floating restaurant and a small hotel at the spot where the Wall plunges into the lake. 

It is a technical dive, not suitable for beginners. The water depth changes throughout and the dive is at the edge of “recreational” diving: 30 meters deep plus or minus. The wall lies under five meters of silt and is cloaked in absolute blackness and cold. However, divers are rewarded with a tower of multiple rooms to swim through and to experience this iconic structure in a very different way.

Know Before You Go

From Xichengyu Village, you need to take a boat to the dive site. To perform a dive, VVDiving, based in Beijing is a good lead. There are no dive facilities at the site, everything must be brought in.

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