[[quoteright:250:[[TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ed2a67f761c9fd1fe697cf7e7f1770e3.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:Its secrets once wrought the greatest artifice ever known. Now crabs loot the rubble to decorate their shells.]]

Staple of VideoGames and undersea [[{{Film}} movies]], the UnderwaterRuins are a [[SunkenCity city]], temple, ship, or similar place of majestic wonder submerged UnderTheSea or a lake. Typically, the ruins will be Greco-Roman in appearance (lots of columns and arches) to evoke an {{Atlantis}} like catastrophe. Usually these ruins will be artfully decayed but [[RagnarokProofing remarkably well preserved]]. This setting is a HailfirePeaks of UnderTheSea and TempleOfDoom.

You might see mer-people living in the ruins, or an actual [[UnderwaterCity domed city]] for air-breathers to live in nearby or hidden in the ruins. Expect to find areas with breathable air regardless for heroes to take a breather in.

''Intrepid Travelers Beware!'' These ruins are sometimes subject to DownTheDrain. For partially submerged cities see SunkenCity.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Appears in ''Anime/TransformersArmada''. It's Atlantis, and was actually destroyed by a plot device.
* Early in ''AudioPlay/StrikersSoundStageX'', Subaru mentions an underwater ruin that was uncovered when the [[AmusementPark Marine Garden]] was being built. It could be seen from the Crystal Valley underwater tunnel. It's really romantic, the color's really blue and very beautiful, [[spoiler:and it becomes very important later as it turns out that the [[KingInTheMountain Dark King Ixpellia is sleeping there]]]].
* In ''Franchise/LupinIII'':
** ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro'': [[spoiler:These turn out to be the treasure of the Cagliostro country]], revealed after the lake's water level drops due to a dam break.
** ''Anime/LupinIIIElusivenessOfFog'': Exploring the ruined tower at the beginning of the movie also helps Lupin figure out what he has to do in the past.

[[folder: Art]]
* Damien Hirst's 2017 exhibition [[https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/06/damien-hirst-treasures-from-the-wreck-of-the-unbelievable-review-titanic-return Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable]] exploits this trope, deliberately creating modern ruins with very modern themes.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* There was some of this in the Film/JamesBond film ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly.'' Not much, the "underwater" set wasn't particularly elaborate, but it was implied.
* In the Black Lake during the second task in ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'', there's ruins of the underwater [[OurMermaidsAreDifferent mermaid]] city.
* In ''Film/BigGame'', Air Force One becomes this, as it's wreck lands in a lake and the heroes end up taking refuge aboard.
* ''Film/{{Waterworld}}'': The flooded ruins of a modern city are seen underwater when [[spoiler:the Mariner shows Helen where he gets his dirt from]]. Presumably, there are a lot more than just that one beneath the oceans that now cover the entire Earth.

* In Esteban Ruquet's ''Literature/ConcienciaYVoluntad'', most of the coastal cities are buried underwater after the climatic change. This generate a lot of underwater ruins, explored by searchers and adventurers.
* In Creator/JulesVerne's ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'', the ruins of {{Atlantis}}.
* Creator/HPLovecraft:
** Most of R'lyeh, where the [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos titular]] Cthulhu lives, as described in "Literature/TheCallOfCthulhu".
** "Literature/TheTemple" deals with the crew of a submarine who encounter some.
* Subverted in Terry Pratchett's ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'', where it turns out that the ornate ruins on the ascended isle of Leshp [[spoiler: were constructed underwater by Curious Squid, not above-water by people]].
* Underwater Ruins were the source of the outbreak in ''Literature/WorldWarZ''. Patient Zero was a boy who had been diving for valuables with his father in the drowned township at the bottom of a Chinese reservoir. He returned to the surface with a bite wound and a death sentence for a large proportion of the human race, and his father never returned at all. It is implied by the authorities' reaction that the reservoir was created in the first place to attempt to cover up the (probably bioweapons) site.
* ''Literature/{{Dinotopia}}'' by James Gurney has the ruins of Poseidos (read: Atlantis).
* Lael Littke's short story ''Lucinda'' in ''Thirteen'' concerns the disappearance of the aforementioned Lucinda six years prior to the story's beginning. It's believed that Lucinda's body was hidden in the remains of what used to her hometown, Lake Isadora, after the buildings were moved and the remaining foundations flooded to create the new lake. The main character and her brother (Lucinda's ex-boyfriend) return to the lake after it had dried up.
* Part of ''Literature/DreamPark'' takes place in a simulation of the underwater ruins of Los Angeles. A minor character comments "This is real. I have been diving here."

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A few blue-related ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' cards feature these, including the Land card Academy Ruins, pictured above.

* In ''Franchise/{{BIONICLE}}'', the Pit was once a mighty undersea prison meant for the worst criminals of the universe, but after the Great Cataclysm shattered the walls and flooded the place, it turned into these after 1000 years. Also, the surviving inmates are still around, [[BodyHorror mutated by the waters of the ocean into half-aquatic monsters]] that fight for survival in a prison even more inescapable than their old one.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In addition to your standard underwater caves and shipwrecks, Edward Kenway in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag'' can use a diving bell to explore some underwater ruins in the West Indies Sea, primarily Mayan in origin. Some other ruins in the overworld are also partially submerged.
* ''VideoGame/BlasterMaster'' - The underwater world of Level 5 has some "Atlantis" like pillars for background.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Banjo|Kazooie}}-Tooie'', the Atlantis section of Jolly Roger's Lagoon.
* ''[[VideoGame/GargoylesQuest Demon's Crest]]'' had one level that was split into above-water ruins and underwater ruins. By playing through the above-water section, you could acquire the Crest of Water, which gave you a form that lacked SuperDrowningSkills and let you complete the underwater section.
%%* ''[[VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry1 Donkey Kong Land]]''
* In ''VideoGame/EccoTheDolphin'', played to the letter with the ruins of Atlantis.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** The series' lore includes the sunken continent of Yokuda, home to the ancestors of the Redguards. According to popular myth, it was "sunk beneath the sea" by a renegade band of [[TheOrder Ansei]], "[[MasterSwordsman sword saints]]" who could [[SpontaneousWeaponCreation form swords out of their own spirits]] called "Shehai", using a DangerousForbiddenTechnique known as the "Pankratosword", which they could use as a FantasticNuke. (Other accounts state that the likely cause was a much more natural type of disaster.)
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'':
*** Mudan Grotto, off the coast of Ebonheart, leads to a long forgotten [[OurDwarvesAreDifferent Dwemer]] ruin which contains the legendary Dragonbone Cuirass and a funny EasterEgg.
*** Boethiah's shrine is off the west coast of Vvardenfell. Some time ago, it was swallowed by the ocean. You can get a quest from the [[OurGodsAreDifferent Daedric Prince]] himself there to build him a new shrine.
** The ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' expansion ''Knights of the Nine'' adds an underwater Ayleid ruin where one of the artifacts was stored. For being underwater for so long, it still has a good amount of breathable air.
* ''VideoGame/EndlessOcean'' has one as a bonus area.
** The sequel has some as ''regular'' areas.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'', the Underwater Temple, home to one of the game's [[CosmicKeystone Cosmic Keystones]]. You can apparently breathe there, too, thanks to [[spoiler:some AppliedPhlebotinum called oxyale]].
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'', There's the Temple of Time near the continent of Saronia, underwater.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', these crop up quite a bit. Able to be explored because three of the main characters seem to be able to hold their breath indefinitely (justified because two of them play underwater sports for a living and the latter is a thief).
* In ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'' the original Lion's Arch is underwater following the [[WorldSundering rise of Orr]]. Many structures in Orr also remain submerged.
* The Lost Precursor City in ''VideoGame/JakAndDaxterThePrecursorLegacy''.
* The Water Ruin planet in ''VideoGame/JetForceGemini'' looks exactly how it sounds.
* In ''VideoGame/LaMulana'', The Spring In The Sky, in which you had to swim ''through'' the water (thus, deliberately take damage) to get the underwater breathing item.
* ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' features the ruins of the frigate from the beginning of the game about 3/4 submerged in water (accompanied by [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome a beautiful piano song]]).
** In the sequel, the lower part of Torvus - a ruined, sunken temple, with a remix of Red Brinstar from Super Metroid. Dark Aether's version doesn't have nearly as much water, but is MUCH creepier and even more derelict.
** The Wrecked Ship in Super Metroid is similar to Prime's, except without the awesome music.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ristar}}'' has ALL of Planet Undertow like this.
* The ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' series seems fond of this:
** Labyrinth Zone (''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog'')
** Aquatic Ruin (''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'', Genesis)
** Aqua Lake (''Sonic 2'', Game Gear)
** Aqua Planet (''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehogChaos'')
** Blue Marine (''SonicBlast'')
** Hydrocity (''VideoGame/{{Sonic 3|AndKnuckles}}''; returns in ''VideoGame/SonicMania'')
** Tidal Tempest (''VideoGame/SonicCD'')
** Lost World (''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'')
** Aquatic Relix (''VideoGame/SonicPocketAdventure'')
** Aquatic Mine (''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2'')
** Water Palace and Pirates' Island, the latter of which being built into a base. (''VideoGame/SonicRushSeries'')
** ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'' features both {{VideoGame/S|onicHeroes}}easide [[NostalgiaLevel Hill]] in the console version, which has been retooled to be partially underwater, unlike the original level, and the above [[VideoGame/SonicRushSeries Water Palace]] in the 3DS version, with a few added gimmicks for Act 1.
** Sylvania Castle (''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog4'')
* ''VideoGame/StarFox64'''s Aquas, which was a once-thriving planet before a bioweapon (the stage's boss) submerged the entire planet underwater. The ruins from the previous inhabitants are still present, though limited mostly to pillars that act as magnets to your torpedoes.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', the sheer number of elven ruins in Ashenvale and Azhara is staggering; there is nary a body of water in these zones without a downed column, sunken arch, or pockmarked pillar in it. Massive earthquakes are to blame for all those night elf ruins underwater. Though they seem remarkably resistant to pressure and the ravages of 10,000 years. There are also ruins of a sunken Troll city off the coast of Stranglethorn Vale and sunken Titan ruins in the waters between Arathi and Wetlands.
** Another example from the ''Warcraft'' universe: the Tomb of Sargeras. Heck, the terrain type that was used to make these maps for ''The Frozen Throne'' is ''named'' 'Sunken Ruins' in the editor.
*** Should be pointed out that by the time we encounter any of the 'Sunken Ruins' locations in TFT, they've been raised from the ocean floor.
** ''Cataclysm'' has the Sunken City of Vashj'ir and the town of Duskhaven in Gilneas, which gets flooded during the Worgen Starting zone because of the cataclysm.
* ''VideoGame/WarioLandII'' had the very aptly named "Ruins at the Bottom of the Sea" as a secret world/level.
* In ''VideoGame/XCOMTerrorFromTheDeep'', you shot down alien craft all over the world, then went to capture or kill them. This happened around underwater ruins an awful lot. The Atlateans must have had a global civilization.
** A similar example from the same game. Occasionally, later in the game, the aliens will attempt to capture "Artefact Sites" in order to expand the range of their [[HiveMind Molecular Control network]]. These sites are beneath ancient pyramid structures, and have a UsedFuture architecture.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', [[spoiler:the old kingdom of Hyrule gets submerged underwater]].
* ''[[Website/GaiaOnline zOMG!]]'' features ruins of [[ContinuityNod Gambino's Tower]] as a major part of the Undersea Cliffs, and as a portion of the [[spoiler:[=SeaLab=] Compound zone]]
* Atlantis sank at the end of the campaign in ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'', but you end up having to go back in the expansion. It just hasn't sunk ''very far'' yet, so there are a lot of ruins that are just under the surface, and a lot of areas shallow enough to wade through.
* ''VideoGame/InTheHunt'' has a stage like this where your submarine is [[RiseToTheChallenge chased upwards]] by a [[AdvancingWallOfDoom giant living statue]].
* ''VideoGame/IndianaJonesAndTheFateOfAtlantis'', unsurprisingly enough.
* The underwater indie game ''VideoGame/{{Aquaria}}'' naturally has a lot of these, mostly acting as dungeons.
* Centaur Man's stage in ''VideoGame/MegaMan6''.
* Slimy Spring Galaxy in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy2''.
* ''VideoGame/PanzerDragoon Saga'' has the ruins of Uru - you and your dragon fly over what few bits are tall enough to poke out of the water, then you wind up temporarily losing said dragon and explore a vast underwater laboratory.
* ''VideoGame/AmericanMcGeesAlice'' has the Vale of Tears. It's an UnderTheSea level with Underwater Ruins.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'', there's the underwater Abyssal Ruins by Undella Bay.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'' features Thor, a technologically advanced city that sunk into the sea 2 millennia ago when a meteor struck it. [[RagnarokProofing Being over 2000 years underwater]] hasn't stopped most of the technology thanks to the city being powered by [[CapturedSuperEntity Aska]], who also keeps the city's dome under which the party can freely breath.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilRevelations'': [[spoiler:the Queen Dido]]
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarIII'' one NPC points out an underwater temple to you when you pass by it on a boat ride to an early quest, but it's not until near the end of the game that you actually get to go there with the help of a TransformingMecha to get [[SwordOfPlotAdvancement Orakio's]] [[InfinityMinusOneSword Sword]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Folklore}}'' has an entire section of the Netherworld (essentially a level) made up of eerie abandoned ruins under the sea, said to be crumbling away into oblivion due to human disbelief in an underwater afterlife.
* In ''Snoopy's Grand Adventure'', the second world, "Temple of Bunnies", takes place in an ancient flooded ruin, where the goal is to rescue Linus. Enemies in this world consist of stone men that resemble Linus, and fish. The boss of this world is King Totem.
* ''[[VideoGame/AtlantisTheLostTales Atlantis II]]'' has the main character [[spoiler:visit the ruins of Atlantis near the end of the game.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' has the Underwater Monument, a sprawling temple complex of green stone populated by Guardians that can only be found in the deep ocean.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' the battle with [[spoiler:Linda the Lungfish]] takes place in the submerged ruins of Shaky Claim. It was a prospecting town until an insanity epidemic saw nearly the entire population committed and the valley flooded by the government.
* The final battle against Dural in ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter 2'' takes place in one, and is unique in that it's the only stage in the whole series to be fought underwater. Moves and animations are executed much more slowly, and while they can be better telegraphed, it does ''not'' make Dural any easier to fight. But at least everyone comes with SuperNotDrowningSkills.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Starbound}}'', ocean planets often have the underwater ruins of an abandoned Hylotl city, making them a good source for cultural artifacts.
* Used as the settings for ''VideoGame/BricksOfAtlantis''. You even get to ''destroy'' some.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'': [[MacGuffin the Orb of Water]] is located in the Sunken Shrine. It's inhabited by a [[Creator/HPLovecraft Lovecraftian]] ApocalypseCult. In the end, [[spoiler:the heroes end up raising the Shrine back on surface [[DestructiveSavior flooding the town of Onrac in the process]]]].
* In ''Webcomic/DemonFist'', [[InfinityPlusOneSword Pandora's Spear]] is located in a sunken ruin. In an aversion of the usual dry-inside or aquatic-level tropes, Rosenquist's floating fortress actually uses a giant forcefield to part the sea around the whole city, leaving it high and dry.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' has the lost city of [[{{Atlantis}} Atlanta, GA]].
* Little-known film ''WesternAnimation/SamsonAndSally'' had brief references to Atlantis. Later in the film, Samson (a whale - most characters were marine animals) traveled to "the city man built" in order to find Moby Dick. This city is apparently a sunken New York.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'' Billy inadvertently destroys Atlantis.
* Similarly, Cosmo of ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' sunk Atlantis… seven or eight times. Eventually the residents just gave up on living on the surface and evolved into mer-people. When Timmy wishes to visit Atlantis (to get cool pictures for a school history report or something), he ends up having to rescue Cosmo from their revenge/justice by proving they were actually better off safe and secluded under the ocean.
* The sunken island of Quetso in ''WesternAnimation/FlipperAndLopaka''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooCampScare'', the lake in Camp Big Moose has the remnants of an old town (Moose Creek) sunken in it. It gets dried up by the bad guys.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Subverted with ruins discovered off the coast of Zakynthos in Greece. What appeared to be ruins, including columns and courtyard stones, turned out to be [[http://www.livescience.com/54965-zakynthos-underwater-city-formed-by-geology.html totally natural phenomena]] caused by methane leaks and bacteria, that just happened to look shockingly like man-made ruins.
* A few have been found in real life, such as the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yonaguni_Monument Yonaguni Monument]] and temples of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabalipuram#Landmarks Mahabalipuram]], but they are rarely more than a few sunken structures.
* Similarly to the Quabbin Reservoir example (Literature), many towns along the Tennessee River were flooded by the construction of hydroelectric dams. Most of the buildings were demolished, but divers can still see the foundations of some.
** The [[http://www.louishelbig.com/sunkenvillagesst.html Sunken Villages]] project documents the ruins of old towns visible in the St. Lawrence Seaway along the New York/Ontario border of the US and Canada. Instead of flooding due to hydroelectric dams, in this case it's because the river was expanded into the Seaway for shipping. The invasive zebra mussel "cleaned" algae out of the Seaway in recent years, turning the formerly murky waters clear and allowing easy aerial photography of the ruins (which are now mostly foundations and roads).
* Look at the footage of UsefulNotes/RMSTitanic's interiors sometime (YouTube is just lousy with pirated documentaries). Even amongst the wreckage and ruin brought on by the sinking and a century under the waves, glimpses of the once grand glory can still be seen.
* The hydroelectric dams built on the Upper Nile have flooded, and most likely destroyed, a great many archaeological sites of the ancient Egyptian and Nubian civilizations.
* OlderThanDirt: The oldest known sunken town is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlopetri Pavlopetri]] in Greece, which was inhabited during the bronze age and is thought to have sunk around 1000 BCE.
** Areas around the Black Sea are dotted with sunken ruins. Some archeologists have speculated that the Black Sea may originally have been a lake with surfaces well below sea level that got flooded with seawater when it got connected with the Mediterranean.
* Wiki/ThatOtherWiki has a list of real sunken ruins [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Underwater_ruins here.]]