Think about the city you live in. With all the people doing their work, the landmarks, trees, and animals, it’s almost like the city is alive. Can you even imagine this city getting deserted shortly? Or that it just disappears for some reason or another? Seems impossible, doesn’t it? But there are cities in this which were once prosperous and full of life but now have declined, or their location has been forgotten. These are the lost cities.
Lost cities can fall under two categories:
- Cities we had no knowledge of which have been discovered recently.
- Cities we don’t know the location of, but are aware of their existence because of myths, legends or historical records.
The search for these lost cities has given rise to archaeology.
Here’s a list of four of these lost cities:
- Pompeii, Italy-
This Roman city was completely buried under the ashes because of the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The city was not discovered till 1748, and it was protected by the ashes for nearly 1700 years. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts people from all over. It gives us an idea of the condition of the Roman Empire back then. Political slogans and graffiti have been found on the walls. Unlike other lost cities, the dead people have been found too as the bodies have not perished because of the ashes.
- Machu Picchu, Peru-
The ‘Lost City of The Incas’ is located on a peak of the Andes. It was constructed in 1450 and was abandoned within a hundred years because of the Spanish conquest of South America. The Spaniards didn’t find the city and thus it had been hidden from the rest of the world till 1911. It has not been confirmed if Machu Picchu was a Royal retreat or a religious sanctuary.
- Vijayanagar, Karnataka, India-
Founded by the Sangama dynasty princes, Vijayanagar was the capital of one of the largest Hindu Empires in South India. It controlled the spice trade and cotton industry and hence was one of the centers of international commerce. The battle of Talikota in 1565 caused the decline and opened up the gate for Muslim conquest. Also known as the Ruins of Hampi, it is now listed as a threatened World Heritage Site because of the pollution.
- Tikal, Guatemala-
This was once the capital city of a Mayan Kingdom. The site had been claimed to be mysteriously abandoned. The locals of the area were aware of a lost city before but it was found in 1848 by an expedition. Scientists have found out that the city had been abandoned because it could not support the increasing amount of population. Pyramids, Royal palaces, etc. have been found here.