Time-Traveling Through History: The World’s 10 Forgotten Ancient Cities

Lost cities, like hidden treasures, have disappeared or been abandoned throughout history due to natural disasters, wars, or time. These cities have fascinating stories and have been sought after over the years. This journey explores these lost cities, uncovering their histories, reasons for disappearance, and how they were found, teaching us about the past and our curiosity.

Lost Cities Of The World
Image credit: adobestock

Here are some lost cities of the world:

1. Atlantis

Atlantis is a legendary city first mentioned by an ancient Greek philosopher named Plato. He described it as an incredibly advanced civilization, but its exact location remains a mystery. According to Plato’s writings, Atlantis was a powerful island nation that, due to its greed and arrogance, was said to have disappeared beneath the ocean in a single day and night. However, the existence and location of Atlantis have never been definitively proven, leading many to consider it a myth or allegory.

2. Pompeii

Pompeii was an ancient Roman city located in what is now Italy. In 79 AD, the nearby volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the city under a thick layer of volcanic ash and debris. This sudden catastrophe preserved the city remarkably well, freezing it in time. Excavations of Pompeii, which began in the 18th century, have uncovered homes, streets, frescoes, and even the remains of its residents, providing valuable insights into daily life during the Roman Empire.

3. Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a historic city situated high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It was built by the Inca civilization around the 15th century but was later abandoned, likely due to Spanish conquest and colonization. For centuries, Machu Picchu lay hidden from the world until its rediscovery in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham. It is celebrated for its intricate stone structures and terraces, offering a glimpse into Inca engineering and culture.

4. Petra

Petra is an ancient city located in Jordan known for its unique rock-cut architecture. It was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom and a thriving trading hub. The most famous structure in Petra is “The Treasury,” which is a monumental building carved into a rose-red cliff. After being forgotten for centuries, Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered Petra in 1812, revealing its exceptional craftsmanship and beauty.

5. Angkor

Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia, flourishing between the 9th and 15th centuries. It was home to remarkable temples, including the enormous Angkor Wat. After being abandoned and slowly overtaken by the surrounding jungle, French explorers re-discovered it in the 19th century. Angkor’s temples are renowned for their grandeur and historical significance.

6. Troy

Troy is an ancient city in what is now Turkey. It gained fame through the epic poems “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” by Homer, which described the Trojan War. For a long time, people believed Troy was a fictional place, but in the 19th century, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann found the real city. His discoveries confirmed the historical basis of the ancient tales and shed light on the ancient world.

7. Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde is a historic site in Colorado, USA, where the Ancestral Puebloans built homes in the cliffs during the 6th to 12th centuries. These cliff dwellings were eventually abandoned, and Mesa Verde became a national park. The well-preserved structures provide a glimpse into the lives of the people who once called this area home.


Herculaneum, like Pompeii, was an ancient Roman town near Mount Vesuvius in Italy. It was also destroyed by the eruption in 79 AD. Herculaneum is known for its excellent preservation, including intact buildings, mosaics, and even carbonized wood. It offers valuable insights into Roman daily life.


Palenque is an ancient Maya city in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It was a prominent city during the Classic period of Maya civilization. Abandoned and concealed by the jungle, it was rediscovered in the 18th century. Palenque boasts impressive Maya architecture and intricate sculptures.

10.Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe is an archaeological site in modern-day Zimbabwe, once the capital of a medieval kingdom between the 11th and 15th centuries. The site is characterized by massive stone walls constructed without mortar, showcasing advanced architectural and engineering skills. It remained hidden until its rediscovery and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bottom Line

These lost cities have fascinating stories of their rise, fall, and rediscovery, and they offer valuable insights into the history, cultures, and architectural achievements of ancient civilizations.

Q1. What is the most famous lost city?

A. Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca citadel in Peru’s Eastern Cordillera, is the most famous lost city globally, known as the “Lost City of the Incas.

Q2. What is the oldest city found?

A. The oldest inhabited city is Jericho, located in the Palestinian West Bank, with a history spanning 10,000 BCE to the present. It is known for its oldest protective wall. The world’s oldest city is difficult to determine due to fluid arguments, with Aleppo, Faiyum, and Faiyum being contenders.

Q3. Is there a city of gold?

A. Legends of gold cities exist worldwide, including the famous El Dorado in South America, which originated from the Muisca people’s tradition of covering themselves in gold dust and jumping into Lake Guatavitá. Despite numerous attempts to find it, it remains a legend. Other legends include the lost city of Zerzura in the Sahara Desert.

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: