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In the Media

article imageVilla Epecuén: 'Real-life Atlantis' in Argentina

By Anne Sewell
Mar 18, 2013 in World
The story of Villa Epecuén, a former popular, vibrant spa resort town, is a sad one. The "town that drowned" is a real-life Atlantis, which is gradually coming up for air once again after 25 years.
It happened on November 10, 1985. There was a period of very heavy rains, which caused the lagoon in the town to burst its banks. The water swept over the busy resort town and submerged it beneath 10 meters (30 feet) of water.
1,500 residents fled from their homes, never to return.
The waters are gradually receding, but the town, which is 550 kilometers (340 miles) south of Buenos Aires, was never rebuilt. As the waters recede the ruins of the shops, houses and businesses are gradually being exposed to the light again. The lagoon salt water has left its mark on everything, eroding the ruined contents of the homes, and coating everything in a silvery-white layer.
At the time of the disaster, the flood gave the town's residents little time to gather their belongings.
One of the residents, 48-year-old Norma Berg told AFP, "I had a bunch of cats and dogs, and they ran away a couple days before the flood and I never saw them again."
"I think my pets could feel that the water was coming," she said, explaining that her and her family had to flee the town.
Epecuén  a spa resort and tourist village in Argentina  which was covered in water 25 years ago and...
Santiago_matamoro
Epecuén, a spa resort and tourist village in Argentina, which was covered in water 25 years ago and is gradually coming up for air.
image:144055:1::0
Since around 2009, the level of the water has been gradually decreasing and viewing the images of the town on the Daily Mail website gives an eerie impression of what the town is like today. Graves were unearthed by the floods, rusty engines and even beds stand in the streets.
Due to its unearthly appearance, the newly risen town has been used in several films, offering eerie and spooky backdrops.
The town used to be a popular spa and tourist destination and on average, 20,000 people visited each year. There were around 280 businesses in the town which included hotels, guest houses, lodges and other businesses centered around the tourist industry.
The lagoon (Lago Epecuén) with its high salt content has been compared to the Dead Sea as a popular destination. Its therapeutic powers have been famous for years and it was said that Epecuén, or "eternal spring", can cure conditions such as rheumatism, skin diseases, anemia, and could even treat diabetes.
According to a local legend, the lake was formed by the tears of a great Chief, crying for the pain of his beloved.
It is said that the cause of the disaster was an irrigation system that had been planned, and a dam that was built. Reportedly Villa Epecuén suffered from a severe drought and residents were trying to solve the problem, but due to the bad political climate at the time in Argentina, the project was never completed.
Despite the town gradually coming back to the light, there has been no rebuilding, and there is only one resident in the area, 81-year-old Pablo Novak.
Novak explained that he spends his days cycling around the ruins. "Until about four or five years after the flood, when the waters were still high, nobody came around here at all. I was totally alone. All day, every day."
“I am OK here. I am just alone. I read the newspaper. And I always think of the town's golden days back in the 1960's and 70s,” Novak says.
There are more visitors to the town recently, however, as people attempt to salvage materials for recycling from the ruins.
A video showing more of the town can be viewed on YouTube here.
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Photo: The old slaughterhouse in the town:
Epecuén  a spa resort and tourist village in Argentina  which was covered in water 25 years ago and...
Santiago_matamoro
Epecuén, a spa resort and tourist village in Argentina, which was covered in water 25 years ago and is gradually coming up for air.
image:144056:0::0
article:345988:6::0
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