Mystery revealed: 20 lost ancient cities around the world have finally been discovered

Perhaps in distant future, one of our descendants will gaze upon the ruins of Taj Mahal or Statue Of Liberty and wonder about the settlements around. It won’t be a surprise if, then, a lot of present day cities would already be submerged. After all, the history mentions many ancient lost cities of the world that were drowned, abandoned, or merely lost in the wilderness.

Many of these lost cities of the world were eventually forgotten with the passage of time until some wanderer or historian accidentally or intentionally discovered the ruins. Thanks to these people, we came to know of these hidden beautiful places in the world.

There is no end to the list of the lost cities of the ancient world. But, to make things easier for you, we have listed some of the lost cities of the world that were eventually discovered. Have a look!

Most Interesting Lost Cities Of The World

Exploring places that were once significant centers of trade, economy, and culture but lost their significance with the passing centuries tells us mysterious stories of the bygone days. Here is the list of the lost cities of the world, starting with domestic sites followed by international hidden gems. Read on to know the interesting facts about the lost cities of the world:

1. Kalibangan – Rajasthan

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The unique fire altars and the world’s earliest attested ploughed field are what make Kalibangan so important among the other lost cities of the world.

Location: Hanumangarh, RajasthanEstablished in: 3700 BCAbandoned in: 1750 BCDiscovered in: 1919 AD; by Luigi Pio Tessitori, an Italian Indologist, who was doing work on Ram Charit Manas by Tulsidas

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2. Lothal – Gujarat

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Arguably the most important excavated city among the long lost cities of the world, Lothal still shows the brilliance of city-planning and organised structures during the times of the Indus Valley Civilisation. This is amongst the famous lost ancient cities in India.

Location: Saragwala Village in Ahmedabad, GujaratEstablished in: 3700 BCAbandoned in: 1900 BCDiscovered in: 1954 AD

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3. Dwarka – Gujarat

The submerged city of Lord Krishna is one of the mythical lost cities. The present-day Dwarka is claimed to be the 7th city, with first 6 submerged off its coast in the Arabian Sea. Archaeologists, however, have only succeeded in recovering ruins that date back to the 15th century BC.

Location: GujaratEstablished in: 1500 BC (estimated)Abandoned in: 1443 BC (estimated)Discovered in: 1983 AD

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4. Sanchi – Madhya Pradesh

Sanchi is the most famous historical places in India. It is famous for the Greco-Buddhist-styled Sanchi stupas and the Ashoka pillar that was erected during the time of Emperor Ashoka. One of the lost cities of the ancient world, it was later rediscovered in the 19th century.

Location: Sanchi Town, Madhya PradeshEstablished in: 300 BCAbandoned in: 1300 ADDiscovered in: 1818 AD; by British General Taylor

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5. Vijayanagara – Hampi

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Though archaeologists have successfully found remains that found date back to around 300 BC, the entire excavated city of Vijayanagar in Hampi belongs to the time of the empire by the same name. However, even the Hindu legend of Ramayana has mentioned Hampi by the name of Kishkinda – the realm of the monkey gods. This is one of the most popular lost ancient cities of the world.

Location: Hampi, KarnatakaEstablished in: 1336 ADAbandoned in: 1565 ADDiscovered in: 1800 AD; by Colonel Colin Mackenzie

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6. Mohenjo-daro – Sindh

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Listed among the ancient lost cities of the world, Mohenjo Daro was long lost until its discovery in 1922. Excavations revealed it to be one of the largest cities of Indus Valley Civilisation and one of the earliest urban settlements in the world. The use of fire-burnt bricks to make organised structures and the marvelous planning are what make the city so famous. And of all the buildings & ruins unearthed, the structure of the Great Bath is the most famous.

Location: Sindh, PakistanEstablished in: 2500 BCAbandoned in: 1900 BCDiscovered in: 1922; by R. D. Banerji, an officer of the Archaeological Survey of India

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7. Taxila – Rawalpindi

Image Source Taxila or Takshashila finds its mention in Indian & Greco-Roman literary sources and in the accounts of two Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, Faxian & Xuanzang. It was India’s largest seat of learning. According to the Hindu epic of Ramayana, Takshashila was founded by King Bharat who was Lord Rama’s brother. The city is said to be named Bharata’s son Taksha, its first ruler. However, excavations could not prove its relation to anything predating 600 BC.

Location: Rawalpindi, PakistanEstablished in: 600 BCAbandoned in: 500 ADDiscovered in: 1863 AD; by Sir Alexander Cunningham

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8. Caral – Barranca

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Caral was believed to be the oldest urban center in the Americas until older sites like Bandurria in Peru were discovered. No battlements, no weapons, and no mutilated bodies have been found from the excavation sites. So, the long lost city is believed to be home to a gentle society that was involved in commerce, music, and pleasure.

Location: Supe Valley, Barranca Province, PeruEstablished in: 2600 BCAbandoned in: 2000 BCDiscovered in: 1905; but were quickly forgotten due to lack of artifacts before Paul Kosok rediscovered it in 1948

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9. Machu Picchu – Cusco

Built as an estate for emperor Pachacuti, Machu Pichhu is the most iconic structure of the Inca civilisation. However, the structure could serve the dynasty for only about a century and was abandoned at the time of the Spanish conquest. In a worldwide poll of 2007, it was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Location: Cusco Region, PeruEstablished in: 1450 ADAbandoned in: 1532 AD – 1572 ADDiscovered in: 1911 AD; by American historian Hiram Bingham

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10. Calakmul – Campeche

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The Maya archaeological site of Calakmul was the seat of the Snake Kingdom. Literally meaning City of the Two Adjacent Pyramids, it had 2 very tall pyramids and hundreds of small structures.

Location: Campeche, MexicoEstablished in: 7th century; when Kaan dynasty relocated hereAbandoned in: 9th centuryDiscovered on: 29th December 1931; by biologist Cyrus L. Lundell

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11. Lagunita – Yucatán

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It wasn’t long ago that the long lost cities of Lagunita and Tamchen from the Maya civilisation were finally discovered in the jungles of Mexico. The discovery was made after reviewing aerial photographs of the area.

Location: Yucatán Peninsula, MexicoEstablished in: 300 BCAbandoned in: 700 AD – 1000 ADDiscovered in: August 2014; by Ivan Sprajc – associate professor at the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts – following the descriptions of Swiss archaeologist Eric Von Euw who visited the site in 1970s

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12. Göbekli Tepe – Örencik

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Göbekli Tepe, the oldest known temple of the world, pre-dates the pottery neolithic era. Many circular & oval structures were discovered atop a hill. Evidence later proved that these structures weren’t used for domestic purposes, rather primarily for religious purposes.

Location: Örencik, TurkeyEstablished in: 9600 BCAbandoned in: 7300 BCDiscovered in: 1963 AD

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13. Troy – Çanakkale

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Troy and Trojan War were only discussed in Greek legends for long until the city’s discovery in late 19th century. One of the formerly mythical lost cities, Troy not only finds mention in poetry works of Homer & others but also was made into a great adventure war film in 2004.

Location: Tevfikiye, Çanakkale Province, TurkeyEstablished in: 3000 BCAbandoned in: 500 ADDiscovered in: 1870; by the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann

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14. Mesa Verde – Colorado

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A National Park & and a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, Mesa Verde protects some of the best preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the US. It is best known for the Cliff Palace, which is considered to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America.

Location: Southwestern Colorado, USAEstablished in: 1190 ADAbandoned in: 1300 ADDiscovered in: 1988 AD; by cowboys Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason

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15. Skara Brae – Orkney

Older than Stonehenge and Great Pyramids, Skara Brae is known as the Sottish Pompeii because it is very well preserved. It was a stone-built Neolithic settlement on the largest island in the Orkney archipelago of Scotland that was discovered following severe storms during 1850 to mid-1920s.

Location: Bay of Skaill on the west coast of Mainland, Orkney, ScotlandEstablished in: 3180 BCAbandoned in: 2500 BCDiscovered in: 1850 AD

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16. Pompeii – Campania

Pompeii is one of the ancient lost cities of Roman empire that was destroyed and buried under a thick layer of volcanic ash after the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius. When the site was discovered, the objects that were recovered were found to be preserved due to the lack of air & moisture beneath the layer of ash.

Location: Province of Naples, Campania district, ItalyEstablished in: 7th century BCAbandoned in: 79 AD; following the catastrophic eruption of Mount VesuviusDiscovered in: 1748; by the Spanish military engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre

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17. Leptis Magna – Khoms

The erstwhile prominent Roman city, Leptis Magna is known to be one of best preserved Roman ruins in the Mediterranean. The excavated site has well-preserved remains of theatre, amphitheatre, market place, gates, Arch of Septimius Severus, and more.

Location: Khoms, LibyaEstablished in: 7th century BCAbandoned in: 7th century ADDiscovered in: Early 1920s; by Italian archaeologists

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18. Helike – Achaea

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Helike used to be an ancient Greek city that was once submerged by tsunami around 373 BC. The World Monuments Fund had included the place in the list of 100 most endangered sites. This submerged town was amongst the biggest targets for underwater archaeology.

Location: Achaea, GreeceEstablished in:Abandoned in: 373 BC; when it got submerged following a tsunamiDiscovered in: 2001; by Helike Society that was formed after multiple previous discoveries that suggested the existence of the city

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19. Heracleion – Alexandria

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The Lost City of Heracleion in Egypt was searched for years around the enormous area of the Abu Qir Bay. French archaeologist Franck Goddio encountered the site submerged almost 6.5 km off the coast of Alexandria. The underwater ruins here include 64 ships, 700 anchors, 16-feet long standing statues, and remains of the majestic temple of the god Amun-Gereb. Visiting the site is amongst the popular things to do in Egypt.

Location: Alexandria, EgyptEstablished in: 12th century BC or beforeAbandoned in: 2nd century AD or 3rd century AD; probably because of tremors that were followed by the liquefaction of the silts on which it was builtDiscovered in: 2000; by by the French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio

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20. Petra – Ma’an Governorate

Petra Caves is an archaeological city located in southern Jordan. Served to be a prominent center during ancient times, today, the place serves to be the symbol of Jordan. Originally the site was known as Raqmu and was inhabited in 7000 BC.

Location: Ma’an Governorate, JordanEstablished in: 312 BCAbandoned in: 663 AD; when Arabs conquered the region, following the major earthquakes of 363 AD & 551 ADDiscovered in: 1812 AD; by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt

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Boy, aren’t we glad that these ancient lost cities of the world have been rediscovered! So, what’s holding you back? Plan a holiday now and visit these beautiful places. You can also get your itinerary optimized according to your preferences and try vacationing like never before!

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