Lost Cities of The World

Lost ancient cities hide many secrets, but they also give many answers. They are the roots of civilization from which vast empires and cultures developed. At some point in their past these cities were abandoned by their inhabitant and left to wait for some curious adventurer. Today, that adventurer is you. Join us on our journey through the distant past, and meet ten lost cities of our choice.

1

Palmyra

Settled within the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, this lost city was initially called Tadmor. The archives of Mari, dating from the 2nd millenium BC, were the first to testify the existence of the city. After the Romans conquered Syria in 64 BC it remained semi – independent until the mid first century AD, and it was a Roman Province of Syria until the third century AD. Its significance lies in the fact that it presented the center of trading crossroads connecting the Roman Empire with Far East, India and China. Inhabitants of The Desert Rose, as it's also called, were mostly Armenians and Arabs. In 636 Muslim Arabs took over the city. People started abandoning it after 800 AD. Today, its ruins, which represent an example of Roman-Greek art mixed with Persian influence, lie next to the new settlement. Some of the most important buildings are: the Temple of Ba’al, Theatre, Roman aqueduct, the Agora and Diocletian's Camp.

2

Troy, Turkey

A legendary city described in Homer’s epic poems, was considered to be the subject of myth, until 1871, when Heinrich Schliemann located a city called Ilium on the territory of today’s northwestern Turkey, for which he claimed to be the famous Troy. Not only did he find the walls of the city, but he olso found the jewels which he claimed to be Helen’s. Modern excavations confirm the possibility that this is the famous Troy. The city is surrounded by strong walls, it had been destroyed several times, and every time it had been rebuilt on the ruins of he destroyed city, so, it actually could have been the setting of the Trojan War.

3

Machu Picchu

One of the most enigmatic places of the ancient world, Machu Picchu is settled in the isolated area in the Andes, not far from the Urubamba Valley in Peru. This flawlessly planned structure consists of well-preserved temples, palaces, terraces and about 150 houses, the arrangement of which perfectly fits in the surroundings. It was inhabited by Quechua peasants, and it remained unknown to the civilized world until Hiram Bingham, a historian, stumbled upon it in 1911. When he found it, it was covered in vegetation, and he returned to clear the forest in 1915. It is assumed that it had been populated for only one century, and then left, probably because of the smallpox epidemic. There are various theories about what was its main purpose, some speculate it was a sanctuary, some assume it was a prison, but the recent discoveries say it was a personal property of the Inca emperor Pachacuti. Today it is an easily approachable, popular tourist attraction, protected by UNESCO.

4

Alantis

About 360 BC,a Greek philosopher Plato was the first one to describe the city of Atlantis in his dialogues: Timaeus and Critias. He described it as a very advanced civilization, located on the island, and therefore a strong naval force. Atlantis allegedly conquered a great part of Europe, but then unexpectedly sank, after a major natural disaster. Although it is most likely that the whole story is the result of Plato's imagination, the fact that he was able to describe a vast civilization for centuries in advance, captured the imagination of many adventurers, and forced them to start looking for the lost city.

5

Pompeii

One of the most popular tourist attractions, protected by UNESCO, this ancient Roman city was placed near today’s Naples. In a catastrophic eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in AD 79 its entire population (about 20.000 inhabitants) was buried under meters of ash and rocks. It had been lost for almost 1700 years when it was accidentally re-discovered by the workmen who were building a palace for the Naples’ king. Since then it has been an inexhaustible source of new archaeological discoveries, providing us the knowledge of the details of ancient Roman life.

6

Angkor

This enormous ancient city, which covers more than 400 m2, including the forest,is one of the most significant localities of South East Asia. It is located in Cambodia, near the town of Siem Reap, and it was once the capital of the Khmer Empire-which ruled from the 9th to the 15th century AD. An invasion of the Thai army in 1431 forced its inhabitants to migrate. Being abandoned, it was left to the mercy of jungle. In 1800s a couple of French archeologists started studying it. They discovered that it had been the largest pre-industrial city worldwide. Is ruins are protected by UNESCO. One of its most important sites is Angkor Wat-a gigantic temple-complex, the biggest religious building in the world , and also , an excellent example of classical Khmer style of architecture.

7

Petra

This ancient city carved out of rose-colored sandstone lies in Jordan and is locally called Wadi Musa, after the stream that flows through it. This naturally fortified city is located in the eastern flank of Wadi Araba, a huge cleft valley placed between the Gulf of Arabia and Dead Sea. Petra was the capital of Nabataenan civilization from the fourth century BC until the Romans occupied it in 106 AD, when it became a part of Arabia Patraea. At its peak it was an important trading center connecting Gaza to Bosra and Damascus, Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf. Its significant stone architecture, which is a mixture of Greek, Roman and Nabataenan architecture, is marked by the buildings half-built, half carved into the surrounding rocks. There is also an evidence that its technology was in many ways advanced, they had cisterns which helped them collect water from the local streams and use it during draughts. But, after a strong earthquake in 363, this water system was destroyed, and its inhabitants were forced to leave the city. For many years it was forgotten, until it was rediscovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.

8

The Lost City Of Z

This mysterious city, allegedly placed deep in the Brazilian jungles, has evoked explorers’ imagination since 1753, when the document, in which a Portuguese explorer claimed he had visited it,was found. The first one who ventured out to find it was Colonel Percy Fawcett. After he had collected various clues, and planned his route carefully, Fawcett, his 21-year old son, Jack, and Jack's best friend, Raleigh Rimell set off into the search for this mythical, extremely rich kingdom. They kept their route secret, fearing that their competitors might find the city first. For five months they had been sending the reports, and after that time, they vanished. After this, many had tried to follow their footsteps, but they all ended up dead or disappeared during their search. Recently, a city named Kuhikugu was found in the Rainforests of Amazon. Many believe that, due to its advanced architecture this city is actually the City of Z.

9

Palenque

This ancient city is situated at the foot of Tumbalá mountains in state of Chiapas in Mexico. This Mayan site was set up between the 3rd and the 5th century AD. Its greatest value lies in the innovative Mayan architecture. Its main monuments are very elegant and skillfully built, and were constructed between 500 and 700 AD. They are marked by the Maya mythological themes, and characterized by mansard roofs and fine bas-reliefs. One of its significant architectural expressions is artificial terracing, which marked this area with uniqueness and structural harmony. The central building is a the Palacio, a truncated pyramid – a kind of an observatory, built at the peak of power of the city (between 500- 700 AD). The second important monument is the Temple of Inscriptions, built as a crypt for mortal remains. Away from the central part, and partly covered with vegetation, there are other temple-pyramids: the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Cross, the Temple of Foliated Cross, and the he Temple of the Count (named after the archeologist Baron Jean-Frédéric Waldeck who lived there in the 19th century). Today, archaeologists are trying to find out even more about this place, and excavations are still ongoing.

10

Memphis, Egypt

Memphis was a capital of Ancient Egypt. According to Herodotus-Menes, who united two kingdoms of Egypt-the Upper and the Lower, established the city in 3,100 B.C. With the approximate number of 30.000 inhabitants it was the biggest settlement of the ancient world. For centuries it was a great administrative center, until it was deserted due to the rise of Alexandria and Thebes. During the 6th Dynasty,it accomplished its peak as a center of the cult of Ptah, the god of craftsmen and artisans. Many temples, palaces and gardens were built at the time. A great part of its architecture is lost, because the stone from its buildings was taken for the surrounding settlements. Only the royal pyramids,and some other tombs, several statues and the remains of the temple of Ptah and Apis survived.