Cities have always been an important part of human existence. Unlike cities in the modern world, many ancient cities were quite small, but nonetheless extremely important to the people who inhabited them. While many ancient cities can still be seen today, there are also so many that have been lost to natural disasters, wars, or the effects of time. Evidence of many of these cities is now found only in written records, which are usually rare. As more and more archaeologists spend their time digging the earth and searching for more evidence of the past, expect more of these cities to be discovered in the future. In the meantime, here are some of the lost cities that have been found. As you read, keep in mind that each of these discovered cities offers something unique to learn about the ancient people, which is why they are worth visiting.
10 Troy, Turkey
The history of the great Trojan War written by Homer was proven to be perhaps based on fact when the city of Troy was discovered in 1868 by a man named Heinrich Schliemann. The city, also known as Hisarlik, was discovered on the northwest coast of present-day Turkey, and the man who discovered the city even claimed to have found treasures that belonged to King Priam.
9 Dazzling Aten, Egypt
A 3,000-year-old Egyptian city was recently uncovered in Egypt, and it’s so remarkable that archaeologists have dubbed it the greatest discovery in Egypt since the discovery of Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb. This city was named after the Egyptian sun god Aten and its existence is dated to the years 1386 and 1353 BC. Dated when Amenhotep III. pharaoh was.
8th Ciudad Perdida, Colombia
South America is home to many lost cities, and while the lost city of gold has yet to be found, the lost city of Ciudad Perdida in Colombia has been found. This city is older than Machi Picchu and was founded in 800 AD. It was discovered in 1972 by a group of local treasure looters who discovered the town buried under thick foliage while attempting to recover the wild turkey they had shot. According to experts, this was the home of the ancient Tairona fleeing the arrival of the Spaniards. Due to its remote location deep in the jungle, tourists can only reach the lost city after a five-day trek.
7 Tanis, Egypt
Tanis was one of the most important cities in ancient Egypt, serving many things during its existence. It even served as the Egyptian capital at one time. Some of the oldest structures from the excavation date from 1069 to 945 BC. The city was first excavated in 1825 and also made famous by the popular Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
6 Pompeii, Italy
One of the most tragic stories of all time was the destruction of the Roman city of Pompeii. It all happened in the summer of AD 79 when Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the city in volcanic ash and toxic gases. Despite being such a large Roman city, Pompeii was lost for many centuries until, in 1748, some workers digging a foundation came across a city with buildings and streets. Word spread, and soon the site was attracting treasure hunters and archaeologists like ants to sugar. It didn’t take long for the conclusion to be drawn that the newly discovered city was the lost city of Pompeii. The excavations revealed a lot, from remains of people trapped in the city to impressive buildings and a huge amphitheater.
5 Carall, Peru
Peru is not only home to the impressive Machu Picchu. It is also home to Caral, known as America’s oldest civilization. The origin of this city dates back 5,000 years and is the origin of the Andean culture, most of which was under the influence of the Inca Empire. The city was discovered in 1948 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
4 Mohenjodaro, Pakistan
Mohenjo Daro was a very important city in the Indus Civilization. It was built around 2,500 years ago and is considered the largest settlement of the Indus Civilization as it is estimated to have a peak population of around 40,000 people. The city was discovered by RD Banerji in 1922 and excavated from the mid-1920s to the 1930s. This ancient city is not only one of the most important ancient civilizations in the world, but also one of the most architecturally impressive.
3 Thonis-Herakleion, Egypt
It is difficult to find lost cities on land, but even more difficult to find ones underwater. With the discovery of Thonis-Heracleion, it is clear that archaeologists will no longer set limits to discovering new cities. For more than a thousand years, this port city was submerged and forgotten until it was explored in 1999. The Ruins of Underwater Exploration include several statues, including that of the god Serapis.
2 Ani, Turkey
Ani is perhaps the youngest city on the list of lost and discovered cities around the world. It was a medieval Armenian city that was the capital of an Armenian kingdom. While its prosperity peaked in the 10th and 11th centuries, this city has been home to people since the Bronze Age and at its peak had an estimated population of 100,000 people. After being attacked by the Mongols and hit by an earthquake, the city was irreparably destroyed and lost until it was discovered in Turkey by Mark Gioloany in 1955.
1 Helike, Greece
Nature played a big part in the sudden disappearance of Helike, a once-living ancient Greek city in the northern Peloponnese region. The city was lost after being destroyed on a winter night in 373 BC. Chr. was flooded by a tsunami, which is also said to have been caused by an earthquake. Like Pompeii, all residents of this city died as a result of the natural disaster. It remained lost for a long time until it was rediscovered in 2001 and excavations have continued ever since.