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Villa Epecuen – The modern-day Atlantis spent 25 years underwater, after it re-emerged one sole resident returned to the apocalyptic town

What today looks like a post-apocalypse site, was once a thriving tourist town.

Villa Epecuen nestled in Buenos Aires Province on the eastern shore of the Laguna Epecuén, about 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) north of the city of Carhué was a modern-day Atlantis, as it spent 25 years underwater.

Villa Epecuen

Built on the banks of a salt lake in the 1920s, Villa Epecuen, at its peak was a home of 1500 people and a favorite holiday destination for many vacationers from Buenos Aires that would seek the therapeutic salty waters of Lago Epecuén.

The little old tourist village at its height could accommodate at least 5,000 visitors. At the time, there were up to 280 businesses in Epecuén, including lodges, guesthouses, hotels, and businesses that 25,000 tourists visited between November and March, from the 1950s to the 1970s.


Adolfo Alsina Partido, Buenos Aires Province


Apocalyptic town. Photo credit  


On the 6th of  November 1985, a dam exploded as a result of a  rare weather pattern called Seiche, then the dike protecting the village also went to hell and the vibrant tourist town was unmercifully immersed in 10 meters (33 ft) making it the modern-day Atlantis.

When the town was submerged, the desperate citizens waited on the roofs with hopes up for the water to subside, but it didn’t and after two days there was not a soul left in the doomed village.

The slaughterhouse Photo credit  


The dead trees, bleached due to the erosion from the salty water Photo credit  

The town was never rebuilt and there was no sign of life whatsoever, until 2009, the waters that kept the picturesque holiday town for a quarter of a century began to recede and what emerged was an apocalyptic world of dead leafless trees and a derelict resort.

When the ruined town after 25 years saw the light of the day again,  one sole resident feeling homesick returned to his hometown. Pablo Novak, the 85-year old and his rusty bicycle are currently the only moving things in the town that most likely looks like an abandoned Star Wars movie set.

Novak was 60-years old when the town was flooded, back then he lived in the countryside, outside the town’s center with his lambs, cows, and chicken.

Like everyone else, Novak also was forced to pack his bags and leave the resort town. But after 20 years, when the town partially emerged he return to where he belonged.

There are a few short documentaries depicting the life of Novak as the sole resident of the apocalyptic town. Here is one that we found.


Maybe he is the loneliest man in Argentina right now, but the loyalty that this man showed to this town that is visibly dead is utterly fascinating.

Neil Patrick

Neil Patrick is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News