From ancient times, cities have always been an important part of human existence. Unlike cities of the modern world, many cities of ancient times were quite small but were still extremely important to the people that inhabited them. Even though many cities from ancient times can still be seen today, there are also so many that have been lost to natural disasters, wars, or the effects of time. The proof of many of these cities can now only be seen in written records which are usually scarce. As more archaeologists dedicate their time to digging and searching the earth for more evidence of the past, one can 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. While reading, keep in mind that each one of these discovered cities comes with something unique to learn about the ancient humans, which is why they are worth visiting.
10 Troy, Turkey
The story 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 modern-day Turkey, and the man who discovered the city even claimed to have found treasures belonging to King Priam.
9 Dazzling Aten, Egypt
A 3000-year-old Egyptian city was recently uncovered in Egypt, and it is so remarkable that archaeologists have even referred to it as the greatest discovery in Egypt since the discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. This city was named after the Egyptian sun god – Aten, and its existence has been dated to around 1386 and 1353 BC when Amenhotep III was Pharoah.
8 Ciudad Perdida, Colombia
South America is home to many lost cities, and while the lost city of gold has not yet been found, the lost city of Ciudad Perdida has been found in Colombia. This city is older than Machi Picchu, having been founded in 800 CE. It was discovered in 1972 by a group of local treasure looters who discovered the city buried in dense foilage while trying to retrieve the wild turkey they had shot. According to experts, this was the home of the ancient Tairona people who fled at the arrival of the Spanish. Its distant location deep in the jungle means that 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 that served many things during its existence. At one time, it even served as the Egyptian capital. Some of the oldest structures from the excavation date to a period that lasted from 1069 to 945 BC. The city was first excavated in 1825 and also made famous by the popular Indiana Jones movie - the 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 and buried the city in volcanic ash and poisonous gases. Even though it was such a great Roman city, Pompeii was lost for many centuries until 1748, when some workmen came across a city with buildings and streets when digging a foundation. Words spread, and soon, the site drew in treasure hunters and archaeologists like ants to sugar. It was not long before the conclusion was made that the newly discovered city was the lost city of Pompeii. The excavations revealed a lot, from remains of people trapped within the city to impressive buildings and a massive amphitheater.
5 Caral, Peru
Peru is not only home to the impressive Machu Picchu. It is also home to Caral, which is famous for being the oldest civilization in the Americas. The origin of this city dates as far back as 5,000 years ago, and it is the origin of the Andean Culture, most of which came under the influence of the Inca Empire. The city was discovered in 1948 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
4 Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan
Mohenjo Daro was a highly important city in the Indus Civilization. It was built approximately 2,500 years ago and is considered the largest settlement of the Indus Civilization as it has been estimated to host a peak population of approximately 40,000 people. The city was discovered in 1922 by R.D Banerji and excavated for a period that lasted from the mid-1920s to the 1930s. Besides being one of the most important ancient civilizations in the world, this ancient city is also one of the most architecturally impressive.
3 Thonis-Heracleion, Egypt
It is difficult to find lost cities on land but even more difficult to find those underneath the water. With the discovery of Thonis-Heracleion, it’s clear that there is no limit archaeologists will not go for the discovery of new cities. For more than a thousand years, this port city was submerged in water and forgotten until it was explored in 1999. Ruins from the 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 hosted people since the Bronze Age and had an estimated population of 100,000 people at its peak. After it was attacked by the Mongols and hit by an earthquake, the city became irreplaceably destroyed and lost until it was discovered in 1955 in Turkey by Mark Gioloany.
1 Helike, Greece
Nature played a huge role in the sudden disappearance of Helike, a once vibrant ancient Greek city located in the northern Peloponnese region. The city was lost after it was submerged on a winter night in 373 BC by water resulting from a Tsunami which is also said to have been caused by an earthquake. Like Pompeii, all the inhabitants of this city perished as a result of the natural disaster. For a long time, it remained lost until it was rediscovered in 2001, and excavations have continued since then.