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The 'real life Atlantis': Eerie photographs capture Villa Epceun - the Argentinian town that spent 25 years underwater

  • @johnmatthewhall

Eerie images have captured a deserted village once dubbed the “real life Atlantis” after it spent over 25 years under water.

Click here or click View Gallery to see the photos of Villa Epceun

Until the 1980s, Villa Epceun was a thriving tourist hotspot 350 miles south of the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. All that changed on November 10, 1985 though, when a prolonged period of heavy rain caused the salt water lagoon that brought so many visitors to the area to burst its banks, submerging the entire village in 30 feet of water.

The village's 1,500 residents scrambled to leave the area, leaving behind many treasured belongings, including dogs, cats and other pets that were never seen again.

But 27 years later the waters have almost entirely receded and, as always with buildings abandoned in a hurry and explored decades later, the first photographs of the so-called “town that drowned” revealed an eerie ghostworld, a strange glimpse of a bygone era.

In one image a collection of glass bottles sit in a rusty box, while others show several small, rusty beds beneath layers of rubble - presumably taken in what was once a boarding school or children's hospital.

Roads can still clearly be made out, particularly around the town's slaughterhouse and its religious monuments.

A laundrette, complete with tumble dryers and washing machines, can be seen in one image but, as with much of the rest of the town, the sheer force of the water that engulfed it has left the area in ruins.

Perhaps the most incredible story about Villa Epceun, however, is that despite the destruction all around the town, one of its former residents has already moved back in.

Speaking to The Independent, the village's sole occupant Pablo Novak said he spends his days cycling around the ruins, remembering his home town's “glory days”.

The 81-year-old  said: “I got used to life on my own... I decided to stay because I spent my youth here, I went to school here and also started a family here. So it seemed quite normal.”

Mr Novak says that in recent months, more and more visitors have been returning to the area, some to view the waterlogged village, while others return in an attempt to salvage possessions they never thought they'd see again.