9 Lost Cities From Around the World

Pompeii, perhaps the most famous "lost city" in the world.

Lost cities are settlements which fell into terminal decline and over time became utterly uninhabited. Some of these cities were abandoned since their economic or religious significance declined while others were destroyed by natural calamities or war. The exact locations of most of these settlements are forgotten, but some of them have been rediscovered after many centuries and studied by scientists. The search for these lost cities from the fifteenth century onwards resulted in the creation of archaeology.Archaeology has resulted in the discovery of many lost cultures and also understanding how our world has evolved over the years. Some of the lost cities on earth include:

10. Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a fifteenth-century Inca Citadel situated on a 7,970 ft mountain ridge in southern Peru. Machu Picchu is in the Cusco area of the district of Machupicchu above the Urubamba Valley. It was built as emperor Pachacuti's estate in 1450. The estate was abandoned a century later when the Spanish invaded the empire. Machu Picchu was unknown to the entire world until 1911 when Hiram Bingham introduced it to the world. The structure was constructed in the classical Inca style.

9. Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe was an Iron Age African city that was erected during the eleventh century by the ancestors of the Shona community. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe are situated in the southeastern mountains of Zimbabwe near Masvingo. The stone city was the royal palace of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe and among its unique features are the 16.4 foot walls that were built with no mortar. The stone city was abandoned during the fifteenth century after the gold mines were exhausted and trade declined. Other factors that led to its decline include climatic changes and political instability.

8. Ciudad Perdida

Ciudad Perdida is an ancient city in Colombia. The ancient city is believed to have been established in 800 CE, about 850 years before Machu Picchu was built. Ciudad Perdida was re-discovered in 1972. Archaeologists went to the site and reconstructed it from 1976 to 1982.

7. Memphis, Egypt

Memphis was the capital city of one of Ancient Egypt's nomes, which is situated near Mit Rahina. Pharaoh Menes established the ancient city, and it served as the capital city of the Old Egyptian Kingdom. Memphis was strategically located at the Nile Delta's mouth, and its chief port featured numerous activities including warehouses, factories, and workshops. The city's economic importance declined after Alexandria was established.

6. Karakorum

Karakorum was an ancient city that served as the Mongolian Empire's capital (1235-1260) and Northern Yuan (14th to 15th centuries). The ruins of Karakorum are in the Ovorkhangai Province. Genghis Khan established the city in 1220. The town thrived and became a principal site of the global politics under Genghis's son and his successors. Ogedei, Genghis's son, built the Myriad Peace palace in 1235 after he conquered the Jin dynasty. The city's economic significance started declining after the Kublai moved the capital to Shangdu. Karakorum declined even more after the Yuan dynasty collapsed in 1368.

5. Taxila

Taxila is a significant ancient Indian Archaeological site that in Taxila, Punjab. The ancient city was built in 1000 BCE on the pivotal-junction between Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The city was built on the Royal Highway that connected Central Asia, Ancient Peshawar, and Mauryan. The city managed to establish itself as an independent district sometimes, but, it was mostly ruled by the Gandhara Kingdom. Sir Cunningham Alexander rediscovered Taxila during the mid-nineteenth century. The site was ranked as the leading Pakistani tourist attraction in 2006 by the Guardian newspaper.

4. Hedeby

Hedeby is a significant ancient Danish trading center that existed during the Viking Age. The settlement was at the head of Schlei, near the southernmost end of Jutland in Schleswig-Holstein district. The place where Hedeby was established was favorable since it had a 9.321 miles portage that led to River Treene. Hedeby was the second-largest Nordic settlement in the region. Hedeby became a crucial marketplace in the area due to its geographical position on all the main trading routes between Scandinavia and Francia and the North Sea (south-north) and the Baltic and the North Seas (west-east). The city was abandoned after it was destroyed by the West Slavs in 1066 and King Hardrada in 1050.Hedeby was discovered during the late-nineteenth century.

3. Petra

Petra is an archaeological and historical city in south Jordan that was founded in the fourth century as Nabataean Kingdom's capitalcity. The Nabataeans were traders, and they invested a considerable percentage of their wealth in Petra since it was situated near the trade routes. Petra economic significance started declining after the sea trade routes were discovered. An earthquake destroyed most of the city's structures. Johann Ludwig rediscovered the city in 1812.

2. Pompeii

Pompeii was a Roman city that was situated in the present-day Pompei commune, near Naples. The ancient Roman city together with Oplontis, Boscotrecase, and Boscoreale were buried under 20 foot of pumice and volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD. Over 2,000 people lost their lives during the eruption. The city was rediscovered in 1748, and the archaeologists were surprised to find most of the city intact. Pompeii is currently the most popular tourist site in Italy and receives over 2.5 million visitors annually.

1. Bonus: Atlantis

Atlantis is a fictional city that Plato mentioned in his work Timaeus and Critias, which he wrote in 300 BC. Plato's tale ends with Atlantis falling out of favor with the gods and being submerged into the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the city being fictional, many writers adopted the idea of Atlantis in their works. Many writers have come up with hypotheses as to where the city is located, with some believing that it's in the Atlantic Ocean while others believe that it's in the Mediterranean Sea. Numerous hypotheses place the city of Atlantis in Europe. A group of people under Professor Freund Richard place working on a documentary for the National-Geographic claimed to have discovered some evidence of this city in Andalusia.


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