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The earth quaked heavily; the sea overflowed its shores. In this way the warlike people of Atlantis sank under the earth on that terrible day and night, and their island sank into the waters.

That is the first account of a disaster in world history. In the fourth century B.C., the Greek philosopher Plato astounded the Athenians through his description of the legendary island state. Allegedly, the priests of the Egyptian Pharaoh told Solon, the political leader of Athens, about it. Even in those days, the story of Atlantis, which in the Egyptian language means “island without name”, was a legend.


ZDF, 1987
Length: 2 x 43 minutes
Written and directed by: Jens-Peter Behrend, Eike Schmitz
Camera: Carsten Krüger
Editor: Marion Richter
Music: Jens-Uwe Fahrenkroog Petersen, Jürgen Dehmel
Narrator: Christian Brückner
Production: Carsten Krüger Filmproduktion
Commissioning editor: Gottfried Kirchner
German or English version

Part 1: The old world
Part 2: In search of a lost continent

Is Atlantis an ancient dream of humankind or a lost reality? People have been searching for the spot, where the legendary kingdom sank for more than two thousand years. The controversy over Atlantis is as old as the legend itself. The film explores many of the locations that have been suggested for where Atlantis could have been situated. The filmmakers talk to scientists from Moscow and New York, and rummage through museums, archives and libraries across the globe.

In the first part of the film, the search leads to Egypt. There, the temple priests of the pharaoh told the Greek statesman Solon, about Atlantis for the first time. Are there any indications of Atlantis in the Egyptian hieroglyphs? Did real events cause the Greeks to create a legend about it? Greek scholars found out that there is a parallel between the Atlantis disaster and the volcanic eruption at the island of Santorin, that destroyed the high culture of the Minoan Empire. Other traces lead to the west, to the empire of Tartessos, near the Straits of Gibraltar.

In the second part of the film, we search for the missing continent in the West: to the Azores, where people tell a strange legend of disaster and to Ilha Bela, a tiny island off the southern Brazilian coast. Here inhabitants insist that strange stone formations are petrified dragons, upon which their ancestors once arrived from a far away country when it was destroyed. The next station is the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the center of Mayan culture. The Mayas also know of flood legends and stories of a great catastrophe. There is even one theory which locates Atlantis near the Caribbean Island of Bimini, because of some huge seemingly many made stone formations under water. At the end of our journey around the world, we arrive at the NASA’s space center in Mississippi. Even here, “Atlantis enthusiasts” engage very seriously into to the search for the missing continent with the latest technology of “remote sensing”.

The search for Atlantis has turned up astonishing facts. Nevertheless, there is still no answer to the question of Atlantis’ true location. The “island without a name” remains a distant goal, which will be researched for generations to come.