Pompeii, Machu Picchu, and Angkor Wat are the more famous ancient cities that come to mind when we talk about lost cities. These are the ones that our teachers often mention in class. Well, they are also ajor tourist destinations and archaeological sites, that’s why they’re more known.
But of course, there are more ancient lost cities all over the world. These time capsules and relics of the ancient world have been dated back thousands of years and what makes them astonishing is that the way they were constructed resembles modern cities.
Here are ten “lost cities” that your history professors forget to tell you about but actually exist.
Babylon was once a major city in the ancient Mesopotamia. The holy city of the Akkadian Empire was built along the River Euphrates in what is now Iraq. Babylon was founded around 2300 BCE, and it was a city known for its luxury, bright colors, and of course, its Hanging Gardens. The city became notable throughout history and may just be the first ancient city to house over 200,000 people as its population.
The photo you see above is the ruins of Babylon taken from Saddam Hussein‘s summer palace.
Home to some of the best examples of Mayan architecture and sculpture, Palenque is one of the ancient Mayan cities. The city is much smaller than Calakmul or Tikal, but like all the rest of the Mayan cities, it was built around 600 and 800 CE. When the Mayan empire declined, the city also collapsed. While some farmers stayed for a while, they too ended up abandoning the city.
The city is the first-ever capital of the first Arab Kingdom, and it has thick and high walls to fend off invaders like the Romans. Hatra was the center of trade and religion of the Parthian empire. When the Iranian Sassanid invaded, they destroyed the city but rebuilt it. Hatra is known for its architecture that reflects Greek, Roman, and Eastern styles.
The ancient city is located in Iraq. It is under the threat of the ISIS who declared that they would demolish the ancient city like how they destroyed the ancient city of Nimrud.
Founded by Emperor Trajan around 100 CE to honor his parents and older sister, Timgad was built in Algeria. The anciet Roman colony remained peaceful for 400 years. Vandals and Berbers were the first to attack the city, and eventually, the colony was conquered by the Arabs.
The wars caused the population to abandon the city, causing it to decline. It was slowly covered by the sand and was not rediscovered until 1881. The city ruins still show the Roman grid planning that is still used in modern Roman cities.
Sukhithai served as the capital of the Thai Empire for 140 years. Its was taken from the Sanskrit and means “dawn of happiness.” The ancient capital has a massive temple complex that attracts thousand of tourists every year. A new modern city called New Sukhothai was built nearby the old city.
In 2014, there have been 193 temples excavated and reconstructed.
Carthage has always been known around the world. It is located in Tunisia and was built by the Phoenicians in the first millennium BCE. Because the city was strategically built along the coast, it quickly became a powerhouse. The mighty Roman empire conquered Carthage and burned the city down and enslaved its citizen. Because of its location, the Romans rebuilt the city, and Carthage became one of the major cities of the Roman empire. The city came under Muslim rule in 698 CE.
Leptis Magna, located in Libya, became a major trading city of the North African area. To save itself from ruin, the city allied itself to Rome, unlike Carthage. It once hosted the Imperial family of the Roman Empire for a time, and the city prospered for about 760 years.
The decline of the city was due to natural disaster. It was hit by a tsunami in 365 CE, which caused the city to weaken. Leptis Magna was invaded a few times until the Sahara buried the city under its sands. The city was forgotten until it was rediscovered in 1930s. In 2005, Mosiacs were uncovered from the city.
Built in 2600 BCE, Mhenjo-daro is one of the world’s earliest cities. The city was built in the Indus Valley in Pakistan. It flourished for 600 years before being abandoned. The ancient urban center was not rediscovered until 1922. Despite having discovered many artifacts from the city, scientists have still no idea it was abandoned.
The name Mohenjo-daro means “mound of the dead.” It is said that the city’s real name might be “Kukkutarma.”
Sachi was abandoned as Buddhism became unpopular in India. The ancient city was eventually claimed by the jungle. In 1818, a British officer rediscovered the ancient city. Sachi is quite unique because it was built over thousands of years. The city was founded at the beginning of the third-century BCE culminating in the 1200s.
One of the biggest empires in the ancient world was the mighty Persian Empire. The empire’s capital city is Persepolis, which also served as a cultural hub. The city was very wealthy and beautiful in its peak.
The city was burned to the ground by Alexander the Great as a revenge because the Persian burned the Acropolis of Athens. The city endured and still remained the capital of Persia under the Alexandrian rule but it never truly recovered and steadily declined over time.
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