Cities thrive and sometimes die. Despite centuries of abandonment, some are still of unmatched beauty. Discover these abandoned, forgotten ancient cities and places that captivate us with their fascinating ruins.
Top 10 Abandoned Cities In The World
There are few places in the world comparable to the majestic beauty of Thebes. Formerly known as Waset, the city of Thebes is now part of the modern city of Luxor. The city was once the capital of Egypt and was the largest city in the world, with a population of more than 40,000. The tomb of King Tutankhamun and the Temple of Karnak are just two of the amazing architectural beauties of this lost city.
This place is familiar to you? Perhaps you have already seen in the cartoon The Mysterious Cities of Gold! It is assumed that the city of Palenque was built around 226 BC. J. – C. and it would have remained inhabited until 799 of our era. Palenque was inhabited by a predominantly agricultural population and when agriculture was no longer possible, the city slowly emptied and gradually became covered with forest. Carved stone tablets that tell the story of the city and its rulers over the centuries have remained hidden until the city is rediscovered, cleaned and restored. Although uninhabited today, Palenque is a beautiful site, rich in history and art.
The exact location of the Roman city of Pompeii remained unknown for more than 1,500 years. In 79 apr. BC, the volcano Vesuve erupted covering this city, a few kilometers from Naples, under 4 meters of ash and pumice stones. After numerous excavations by experts, the city of 20,000 inhabitants reappeared. Although the place is now uninhabited, its complex design, its temples and houses perfectly preserved by the ashes make it an extraordinary site to visit.
If you have never heard of the lost city of Vijayanagara, India, rest assured, you are not the only one. Although this once flourishing city is still venerated by Hindus, the world does not know about it. What was an urban center from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century is today a beautiful historic site demonstrating a beautiful workmanship detailed, beautiful structures, still standing, without restoration of any kind. This holy place was once the heart of the largest empire of southern India and its ruins are as remarkable as the city during its rise.
Art is everywhere in Persepolis and that’s what makes this city so impressive. The ruins of the city, dating back to 515 BC, are intact and sculptures of nobles, slaves and officials of the Persian Empire are still visible. The detail of the works on the buildings is phenomenal and raises Persepolis, now lost and deserted, among the most beautiful creations of humanity.
The Smithsonian Magazine classifies the ancient city of Petra, “rock” in Greek, among the 28 cities to see before dying. Until 1812, the city was not known to the Western world, but is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Petra was founded in 312 BC. AD and was a hub of the silk trade until the fourth century, when it fell under the rule of the Roman Empire. From then on, the population decreased until the city was abandoned and forgotten. Its beauty is linked to the ornamentation of its structures, carved by hand from the rock. It’s amazing!
Today a city in ruins, Ephesus was formerly beautiful and powerful. Located in present-day Turkey, this lost city is home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. However, the most impressive building remains the library of Celsus, a sumptuous architectural creation, still standing and always splendid.
Formerly the largest preindustrial city in the world (from 802 to 1431), Angkor is one of the most captivating abandoned places of all time. The place is teeming with temples, including Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. The remains of this mighty city of the Khmer Empire are magnificent and the intricate artistic details of the temples are still visible.
Palmyra, the bride of the desert, was a central city of Syria. Rich and prosperous, the city, whose name was Tadmor, is mentioned in the Bible and the Babylonian writings. The architecture testifies to the Roman domination of half of the first century. By the sixth century, the population began to decline and in the sixteenth century, the powerful city was completely abandoned. Although left behind, its ruins are among the oldest and are still in very good condition. For those wishing to observe the Roman architecture of antiquity, a visit to this beautiful forgotten city is unavoidable.
Located in present-day Turkey, the ancient city of Troy, whose foundation dates back to 3000 BC. AD, was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Each time, the new city was built on the ruins of the previous one. Its status as a theater of epic poem action The Iliad of Homer has of course contributed to its popularity over the centuries. The ruins of Troy are still relatively intact today and the incredible craftsmanship of this famous city makes it one of the most beautiful lost cities in history.