The Top 34 Lost Cities Forgotten by Time

lost cities

It’s hard to imagine how an entire city can get lost but that’s exactly what has happened in the past. There are actually many reasons why a settlement would be abandoned, like war or natural disasters which led people away from their homes for safety purposes. Climate change could also cause some cities’ locations to shift around because of rising sea levels and shifting landmasses – this means that even if you know where one landmark was before abandonment; finding another future site may not prove easy!

Top 34: Carthage


Carthage is located in present-day Tunisia, home to many ancient ruins. It was founded by Phoenician settlers and became a major power on the Mediterranean Sea with several wars against respective invasions from Syracuse ( Sicily )and Rome. The most notable include Hannibal’s invasion of Italy which ended up destroying Carthage itself – leaving behind only its name; “Carth” means “bitter metal.”

The Carthaginians were an important people in trade with Rome. They had been doing this for generations until finally, the Romans went from house to house capturing and enslaving them all before setting their city on fire just like they did so many others centuries ago – but not completely destroying it as some might have thought at first glance; instead revitalizing what would become one of Italy’s largest metropolises-Carthage!

Top 33: Ciudad Perdida

Ciudad Perdida

The ancient city of Ciudad Perdida is a series of terraces carved into the mountainside, with various roads and plazas leading to its entrances. The locals believe it was once home for their forebears called Tairona who settled here centuries ago during Spanish colonization; however, they were eventually driven out by another tribe or groups from afar- leaving behind little evidence about what might have gone wrong between them all!

Top 32: Troy

Troy is a city that has been the subject of many epic poems. Homer’s Iliad mentions it as being where Troy VIIa, or what remains from this time period in ruins today was built and dated around 1200 BC-1150 BC. The archaeological site contains several layers with ancient treasures waiting for those who happen to be lucky enough to discover them!

Top 31: Skara Brae

Skara Brae is one of the best-preserved Stone Age villages in Europe. It was covered for hundreds of years by sand until a great storm exposed it to chance eyesight, earning itself an adjectival title “the ghost village.” With an intact stone wall that has been mostly untouched since abandonment due to it’s early filling with the material after inhabitants left (rather than destruction), this ancient site will be sure not to disappoint any traveler looking forward to exploring firsthand how people lived back then!

The ancient people of Scotland left behind a treasure trove of artifacts when they abandoned Skara Brae. The furniture was made from stone and thus survived the centuries, as did their houses which were likewise constructed out of this material to withstand its harsh climate conditions

The population exodus can be traced back 3180-2500 BC—long before recorded history began in Britain—although it may have occurred even earlier than that due to uncertainties about dating methods used at such early times, regardless no one knows exactly why these folks pack up shop! This lack of knowledge around timing leaves plenty more mystery surrounding what happened here…

Top 30: Memphis

Memphis was founded around 3100 BC and the city of Menes united upper Egypt with lower in a time long ago. Early on Memphis was most likely just what it sounds like; A fortress from where men could control all routes between these two regions as well as waterways that lead into both diets. The ruins of Saqqara are a fascinating testament to the ancient Egyptians’ architecture and engineering skills. The great temple complex, in particular, is vast, awe-inspiring – it took 30 years for 20 people with spades to excavate all 4 pyramids there! Nearby stands one pyramid that’s even bigger (at over 70 meters) than those at Giza; some say its builder was none other than Rameses II himself.

Top 29: Caral


Caral is a lost city in the Supe Valley of Peru that was inhabited from 2600 BC to 2000 BC. It has more than 3,000 inhabitants and it’s likely one of Northeastern Chico’s most important cities due to its size as well as a central location within this civilization with six platform mounds around an immense plaza where all other buildings seem centered on. All these ancient civilizations shared some similarities such as small platforms or stone circles near their homes; Carals identity seems clear when you find out how many people used to live here – almost 5 thousand!

Top 28: Babylon


The capital of an ancient empire, Babylon was a city on the Euphrates River. The brilliant color and luxury became legendary from the days of Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 BC), who is credited for building Hanging Gardens that are all that remains today in this fertile plain between the Tigris & Euphrates rivers in Iraq.

Top 27: Taxila


Located in northwestern Pakistan, Taxila is a city that has been around for centuries. It was annexed by the Persian King Darius the Great back in 518 BC and once surrendered to Alexander himself would eventually become one of his most important Buddhist centers with many conquerors after them ruling over it throughout time until finally being destroyed during Hunnish attacks sometime between 400AD-500 AD

Top 26: Sukhothai


Sukhothai is a beautiful ancient city that was once the capital of an independent Tai state. Originally, Suhkotai gained its independence from Angkor and became one of their earliest major settlements throughout Southeast Asia’s history as it stands today with some 80 thousand inhabitants at its height in medieval times! Sukhothai was a city of great importance in Thailand’s history. The ruins that remain today are from the 14th or 15th century, and then it was abandoned until 1826 when King Rama II decided to rebuild what had been destroyed by enemy fire during the war with Burma (Myanmar).

Top 25: Timgad


Timgad, a Roman colonial town in Algeria founded by Emperor Trajan around 100 AD and originally designed for 15 thousand people quickly outgrew its original specifications. Originally built on an orthogonal grid plan but due to rapid growth became more loosely organized with time; 5th century sacked by Vandals while 2 centuries later Berbers did too until disappearing from history as one of the lost cities during Roman Empire’s era till 1881 excavation made it known again through archaeology work done here today!

Top 24: Mohenjo-daro


Mohenjo-Daro was one of the first cities in northern India, and it’s still an incredible civilization today. Built around 2600 BC by inhabitants from all over Asia who were skilled builders, to begin with; this settlement may have been home to both jobs seekers looking for work or traders hoping their goods would sell well among others living here together peacefully so long ago!

The buildings of the city were particularly advanced, with structures constructed from sun-dried bricks and burned wood. Mohenjo-Daro and Indus Valley civilization disappeared without a trace around 1700 BC until it was discovered in the 1920s

The ancient cities left behind by these great people are difficult to comprehend for us today because they had such an earthy feel; yet what stands before our eyes is evidence that humans used technology thousands if not millions upon millennia ago!

Top 23: Great Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe

When you think of ancient wonders, it’s difficult to imagine something more incredible than Great Zimbabwe. These complex ruins sit on a large area in modern-day Zimbabwe and are named after themselves because they were “great” among all the other Zimbabwes spread across this vast country! Built by indigenous Bantu people, Great Zimbabwe was an ancient city that spanned over 300 years and is now a historical site in Southern Africa. At its peak estimated around 18 thousand inhabitants lived here until they abandoned it due to causes such as trade decline political instability, and water shortages caused by climatic change.

Top 22: Hatra


Hatra was a city built to withstand invasions. Its walls were so high, and thick that it could resist even Rome itself for many years before finally falling in 241 AD due to Shapur I from Persia who destroyed the place after capturing its people as slaves or tribute goods (such coinage has been found at Hatra). The temples still stand today with their ancient architecture blending Hellenistic features mixed together with Eastern decorations – an example of how great this civilization really was back then!

Top 21: Sanchi


The Sanchi site has a long history of more than one thousand years, starting with the stupas in 3rd century BC and concluding on temples that were built during 10th or 11th centuries. In 13th century AD after decline Buddhism all over India; it was abandoned until 1818 when British officer found this lost city.

Top 20: Hattusa


Hattusa, the capital of an empire that spanned Europe and Asia Minor was home to 40,000-50k people at its peak. The city is famous for being destroyed around 1200 BC alongside its ancient Hittite state–just like Troy before they suffered destruction from Greek warriors seeking their downfall!

When the dwelling houses which were built with timber and mud bricks have vanished from their site, leaving only ruins in stone. The city was rediscovered at beginning of the 20th century by a German archeological team who found clay tablets that consist of legal codes as well procedures for ancient Near East literature

In 1887 an excavation began on a hill outside Istanbul called Ragıp Güsneyeri (Karakoy). This excavation would later be known to fame when it became one of many sites discovered dating back over five thousand years ago during what we now know has been Turkey’s first documented written history-the Indus Valley Civilization!

Top 19: Chan Chan

Chan Chan

Imagine the largest city in pre-Columbian America, built from adobe bricks and decorated with patterns of relief arabesques. It’s a captivating thought for any traveler to have when they see this magnificent ancient civilization at its finest hour!

It is estimated that around 30 thousand people lived within Chan Chan – an impressive testament considering just how many were there over centuries: it was home not only to royalty but also commoners who made their living farming or working as domestics underclass hierarchy reminiscent of Grecian times (not surprising considering Peru used Roman architecture).

Top 18: Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde is a popular destination for those who want to get an idea of what life was like in ancient times. Visitors can visit the famous cliff dwellings, which were built by people around 1250 AD and still exist today as some of America’s most intact native American architecture from that era!

Top 17: Persepolis


The capital city of the mighty Persian Empire, Persepolis was a beautiful place that unfortunately only survives in story and myth. When Alexander wanted to take revenge for burning down Athens’s Acropolis he burnt this magnificent ancient metropolis as well–a fate befell few other places at a given time period where they were able to withstand such destruction from conquerors with Greek names like theirs (Alexander).

Top 16: Leptis Magna

Leptis Magna

The city of Leptis Magna in modern-day Libya was once a prosperous Roman Empire trading hub. The natural harbor and fertile coast region made it an attractive place to live, especially with Septimius Severus at the height for being its patron emperor who became known as “The Great.” His plan to create a flourishing city was successful, but Leptis began deteriorating after the Roman Empire’s downfall. The people who lived there were not able to maintain their infrastructure and eventually lost all that they had worked for in ancient times; yet it lives on through history as one of many examples showing how far humans are capable when given an opportunity or motivation!

Top 15: Urgench


In 1221, Genghis Khan destroyed the great city of Urgench and massacred its inhabitants. The Silk Road empire that was built their centuries earlier would never be again, but it wouldn’t stay buried for long! In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius tells his son Laertes about “lords and patrons” who put on eternal performances in this same place: “And so poor Bayes must live upon his merits.”

The former capital is now just an empty ruin with only stones left standing as a silent testament to what once thrived here – before our time machine takes us back one thousand years into early medieval Central Asia.

Top 14: Vijayanagara


The ancient Indian city of Vijaynagar was once home to 500,000 people. During this time in history when the empire had its peak power and wealth from the 14th century until 16th century AD; it often came into conflict with neighboring Muslim kingdoms due to their differences over religion – Hindus vs Muslims

The land has seen many changes since then but what hasn’t changed is that there will always be travelers coming through who want nothing more than a taste of old India! The Vijayanagara empire was defeated in 1565 and its capital city of Hampi lay destroyed. The victorious Muslim armies razed temples to the ground over a period of months before they finally left after more than 50 years, never to return again as Muslims were replaced with Indian rulers now that their power had waned.

Top 13: Calakmul


The story of Calakmul is a fascinating one. At its height, this ancient Maya city challenged the supremacy of Tikal and engaged in an intricate strategy to surround it with allies while they simultaneously attempted to take control from above- but ultimately failed due entirely too many factors including devastating attacks by external forces such as changes in rainfall patterns or military uprisings led across central Mexico which would eventually lead all major powers involved being defeated before long after their downfall had begun centuries earlier during what has come to be known today called The Classic Period (600 BC-AD 900).

Top 12: Palmyra


Palmyra is a city that has been around for centuries. It was an important hub linking Persia with Roman Syria, but in 212 Palmyran trade started declining as the Sassanids took control of some key areas nears their borders which reduced travel through this once prosperous region

A lot can be said about Palymra’s history and it would take up much more room if I wrote out every detail. But let’s just say they were here before America even existed!

The city of Diocletian, which was once a flourishing capital and oasis village in the middle east has had its history marred by outside forces. The Roman Emperor built a wall to protect himself from Sassanid threats but it wasn’t enough as they captured him anyways; this event marks one chapter for sure…

The next part would involve how under Ottoman rule there were many invasions until Western travelers rediscovered what remained- only now instead of being called an “oasis.”

Top 11: Ctesiphon


Ctesiphon is one of the most important cities in ancient Mesopotamia. It was captured by Rome and later recaptured by Byzantines five times, but it ultimately fell to Muslims during their invasion with Persia that started six centuries ago (637). The Abbasid capital Baghdad was founded in the 8th century and soon went into rapid decline. Ctesiphon is believed to be its basis for Isbanir, an important character from The Thousand and One Nights (Tale of King Shahryar). Today all that remains are ruins at Taq-i Kisra which were once a great city with architecture worthy enough for Scheherazade’s tales!

Top 10: Hvalsey


Hvalsey was a farmstead of the Eastern Settlement, which at its peak contained 4,000 people. It continued for another 60-70 years following that of Western Settlement’s mid-fourteenth-century demise, but in 1408 there is mention on record as well when they celebrated their wedding with church bell ringing and singing!

Top 9: Ani


The ancient city of Ani is one that has seen many changes over time, from being an important commercial center in the 5th century AD to becoming both a thriving town and capital for Armenia. The churches built during this period were some among finest examples of medieval architecture with more than 1000 structures contributing greatly towards earning it its nickname as “the City-of 1K Churches”. The once-bustling city of Ani was left in ruins after a series of disasters befell it, including earthquakes and Mongol raids. Eventually, it fell into complete abandonment with its people abandoning their homes for good to find safer lands elsewhere. The buildings are now located just off the Turkish border where they were discovered by farmers who till this day speak about how strange these structures look against nature’s backdrop or even among other ancient sites like Urartu which have also not had much attention given them before now so there is hope yet!

Top 8: Palenque


The ruins of Palenque in Mexico are much smaller than other lost cities, but they contain some of the finest architecture and sculptures from ancient Maya. Most structures here date back to 600 AD-800 ACD; at its height, it was home for about 30 thousand people before decline set in during the 8th Century CE. An agricultural population continued living as usual after that point until around 1150 when forests overtook them all – leaving us with what is seen today: A magnificent UNESCO World Heritage site!

Top 7: Tiwanaku


The ruins of Tiwanaku are an important precursor to Inca Empire. During the time period between 300 BC and AD 300, it was thought that this site served as a moral center with religious importance for many people in pilgrimage who traveled here from all over southern Bolivia along trade routes leading towards Lake Titicaca where they could find food supplies necessary during winter months when jaguars preyed heavily upon livestock herds on both sides–of river valleys below Andean elevations which would later become home respectively Bolivian lowlands (or Chaco)and high snow peaks.” The people of Tiwanaku were an agricultural society who lived in the Andes, between the 7th and 9th centuries. Though their empire never exceeded 15-30 thousand inhabitants at its height (not even close), recent satellite imaging suggests there may have been many more than this number before 1000 AD when worsening climate led them to disappear forever!

Top 6: Pompeii


The eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD has yielded some of history’s most astounding finds. The townsfolk living nearby Pompeii were covered with ash and soil, preserving them for posterity to see that fateful day when Herculaneum was also struck by this tragedy; similarly, excavations at sites such as Herculaneum have provided glimpses into life two thousand years ago like no other excavation ever could!

Top 5: Teotihuacan


The Teotihuacán civilization was a flourishing if short-lived one in the 2nd century BC. They built huge step pyramids and metropolises that would later decline with their population around the 6th century AD due to prolonged drought conditions. Seven centuries after this lost city’s demise Aztecs honored these ancient structures as well Pilgrim’s Chapel which became pilgrims’ destination too!

Top 4: Petra


Petra is a city that captivates the imagination with its beauty. The Nabataeans built Petra almost 2,000 years ago and it has been loved ever since for centuries to come by travelers who marvel at how this ancient site still manages not only to stand but also thrive in such an inaccessible location deep within Jordanian Wadi Musa canyon walls. Petra is a city that was almost completely abandoned due to its vital water management system being crippled by several earthquakes in the 6th century. This spurred Europeans on their way back from Crusades locations such as Jerusalem or Antioch-on-the–Orontes River at this time, with one traveler even making it all the way there before turning around because he thought Petra wasn’t worth visiting! It wasn’t until 1812 when Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt discovered just what had been lost: A mysterious place known only for centuries beforehand through stories told across Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).

Top 3: Tikal


The Tikal area was once home to a large Mayan city. At its peak, between 200-900 AD, this region had an estimated population of 100 thousand people and it suffered through deforestation before slowly declining in size due to erosion over time as well.

The ruins from ancient civilizations such as those found at Tikal are fascinating reminders that humans have existed on Earth for much longer than most think!

Tikal, the once-great Mayan city in Guatemala that was home to an estimated population of 50 thousand people at its height and then lost almost all those left alive by 850 AD. The collapse came rapidly with central authority disintegrating within decades; this would have been followed shortly thereafter by abandonment as families moved on from their homes into huts among ruins or out across nearby fields seeking shelter elsewhere if they could afford it (and who couldn’t?).

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Top 2: Angkor


The temples of Angkor are a vast city in Cambodia that features the magnificent remains from several capitals built by Khmers. The famous temple at Wat Arun (Angkor wat), which is also known as “The Great Bay,” stands over 150 meters tall and covers up to 10 hectares with its Flat Top architectural masterpiece; it was once home to hundreds upon thousands of people who called this place their sacred ground because beliefs were so powerful back then!

During its long history, Angkor went through many changes in religion converting between Hinduism and Buddhism several times. The end of the Angkorian period is generally set as 1431 when it was sacked by invaders from Ayutthaya who brought violence with them into this once great city-state; however, before that time there had been decline starting centuries earlier where nearly all structures were abandoned except for one which remained a Buddhist shrine named “Ang Pow Wat”.

Top 1: Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

One of the most famous lost cities in Peru, Machu Picchu was rediscovered by Hawaiian historian Hiram after it lay hidden for centuries. The “Lost City Of The Incas” is invisible from below and completely self-contained with agricultural terraces surrounding it to provide food supplies as well water sources coming naturally from springs nearby. Although known locally throughout much of South America before being found again during an archeological expedition launched in 1911; this ancient settlement had largely gone unnoticed outside its country’s borders due mostly because there were no outsiders around at all when they discovered what could’ve been another rich trove just waiting their turn under rocks!