20 Most Beautiful Lost Cities

Uncountable empires were built in different cities at different times out of which some are lost and forgotten and some are left. Some places were rediscovered accidentally while some were discovered through deep research. These lost cities add majesty, wonder, and mystery to the past times. Some of the most beautiful lost cities found all around the world are,

Numerous ancient cities were slowly lost to history until explorers or scholars stumbled upon their remains, either by chance or through deliberate research. The list of these vanished cities is extensive, but we’ve gathered a couple of forgotten cities from around the world that were rediscovered, for your convenience.

Lost Cities

1. Tikal, Guatemala

A beautiful attraction located in the Peten Region of Guatemala is Tikal. The huge pyramids and walkways build it into the most prosperous city of the Mayan period and catch the eyes of the guests. Spread over 575 square kilometers, Tikal was declared a World Heritage Site in 1979 by UNESCO. All the temples, quarters, buildings, and palaces of Tikal were constructed of limestone but unfortunately, Tikal has been abundant now due to continuous drought and deforestation.

Also Read: Top 10 Most Famous Monuments Of Ancient Egypt

Tikal, Guatemala

Image Source: Pedro Szekely

2. Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan

One of the earliest settlements in the world built in the 26th Century BC was Mohenjo-Daro. It is sited in Sindh Pakistan and was revealed in 1921. No temples, monuments, or palaces were present in Mohenjo-Daro and even there was no central government. Elected officials controlled all the regions in the city and there was top most cleanliness and wealth in the society.

Mohenjo-Daro was declared the first heritage site in South Asia by UNESCO in 1980 but because of improper erosion and destruction this site is threatened and by 2030 Mohenjo-Daro will be destroyed because of continuous flooding and less conservation.

Also Read: 10 Mysterious Underwater Cities Of The Ancient World

Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan

Image Source: Wikimedia

3. Vijayanagar, India

Built by Bukka and Hakka on the orders of Sage Vidyaranya, Vijayanagar of India covers a great part of South India today. Initiating in 1336 AD this period lasted till 1646 A.D. To protect the Hindus, their culture and their traditions from Muslims Vijayanagar was created and the might of this empire was preserved in almost 7000 writings written in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and many languages.

The battle of Talikota is enough to understand the power of this kingdom because in this battle Vijayanagar defeated 5 Muslim Empires together. With Hampi as the capital city, Vijayanagar was involved in textiles, perfumery, mining, and many more industrial activities.

Also Read: Top 10 Most Influential People In The History

Vijayanagar, India

Image Source: Wikimedia

4. Ani, Turkey

The great pride for Armenians, Ani city is well known as the City of Thousand Churches. Located in the Kars region of Turkey at the Turkey-Armenian border this city was extremely prosperous but unfortunately by 1236 Ani Empire started declining when the robbery of precious goods happened by Mongol forces above in 1319, a major earthquake struck this city which devastated all the buildings and monuments which ultimately led to the destruction of this empire.

Also Read: 10 Most Famous Prehistoric Cave Paintings

Ani, Turkey

Image Source: Wikipedia

5. Thebes, Egypt

Included in one of the richest and most significant cities in Ancient Egypt was Thebes. In 1979, Thebes was included in World Heritage sites by UNESCO and was the religious and political capital of the country situated on the Eastern part of the Nile River. Temples like Luxor and Karnak were among the most renowned temples found at that time in the eastern part. Ancient tombs, cemeteries, and funerary temples were found in the western part.

Also read: Top 10 Oldest Temples In The World

Thebes, Egypt

6. Persepolis, Iran

One of the most famous historical cities located in Southern Iran is Persepolis. The buildings of the city were constructed of limestone, mud, and bricks and were found in the 6th century. This unique archeological site was built on the model of half-artificial and half-natural terraces. Acknowledged as the gem of Persia, Persepolis was rich in architecture, technology, art, and monuments. This great city was included in the World’s heritage sites by UNESCO in 1979.

Also Read: Top 10 Oldest Buildings in the World

Persepolis, Iran

Image Source: Wikimedia

7. Palenque, Mexico

Not as big as Tikal, Palenque is a small site with a variety of sculptures, art, culture, and carvings. It was a Maya City in Southern Mexico and existed in the 8th Century from 226 BC to 799 BC. Palenque Mexico was included in World Heritage sites by UNESCO. At that time, the builders used plaster and limestone to construct smooth and finished buildings. One of the most beautiful and largest temples- The Temple of Inscriptions was found there in 1952 and also it is believed that ornamental remains were also found buried under the temple.

Also Read: Top 10 Most Amazing Pyramids in Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Image Source: Wikimedia

8. Petra, Jordan

Included in the new Seven Wonders of the World, Petra is one of the most striking places and catches the eyes of visitors. This was also known as a lost city as it remained unknown till 1812 to the Western World. Petra is also considered to be one of the most valuable possessions of man’s legacy. Established in about 312 BC, Petra is one of the oldest cities in the world it was included under the World’s heritage site by UNESCO in 1985 but today, Petra is half turned into rocks.

Petra, Jordan

Image Source: Wikimedia

9. Machu Picchu, Peru

One of the most well-known historic sites in South America is Machu Picchu. The construction of Machu Picchu is thought to have started in around 1450 AD and no mortars were used to build the entire empire. Instead, they used the Ashlars technique that used cutting stones and laying them on one another without space which made the buildings of this place free of earthquakes. It is also known as the Lost City of Incas because it was unknown for a long time. But, it can’t be lost because people living around knew about this site before its discovery.

Also Read: Top 10 Best And Most Popular Historical Periods

Machu Picchu, Peru

Image Source: Wikimedia

10. Angkor, Cambodia

One of the largest religious cities constructed in the 12th century is Angkor city which is located in Cambodia. It was listed as the world heritage site by UNESCO in 1992. It is spread over an area of 400 square kilometers and one must require several days to properly explore this city. Around 35 years were taken to build this city along with thousands of elephants and 300000 laborers.

The temple’s royal palaces covered around 200 acres area but unfortunately, nothing is left today. The pride of Cambodia-Angkor Wat is printed on the Cambodian flag and on the national currency. Around 50% of tourists visit Cambodia every year but still, it is not listed among the Seven Wonders of the World.

Angkor, Cambodia

Image Source: Wikimedia

11. Perdida, Ciudad

Ciudad Perdida, also known as the “Lost City,” is an ancient settlement located in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada region, believed to have been established around 800 AD. The city comprises a collection of terraces carved into the mountainside, a system of tiled pathways, and numerous small circular plazas. Indigenous tribes in the area, known as the Tairona, call this city “Teyuna” and consider it the central point of a network of communities where their ancestors once lived. It seems that the city was abandoned during the Spanish invasion.

Perdida, Ciudad

Image Source: Wikimedia

12. Iraq, Ctesiphon

Ctesiphon, positioned on the Tigris River in the vicinity of contemporary Baghdad, served as the capital of the ancient Persian Civilization. Its primary draw is an immense vaulted hall featuring the world’s largest brick-built arch. This architectural marvel is the hallmark of the city. The adjacent throne room is equally impressive, standing at a height of 30 meters and stretching over a length of 48 meters, providing an incredibly grand setting befitting a monarch. Ctesiphon stands as a testament to the opulence and grandeur of its time, showcasing the architectural prowess of the ancient Persian rulers.

Iraq, Ctesiphon

Image Source: world history

13. Greenland’s Hvalsey

If you have a taste for adventure tales, the story of Thorkell Farserk, a Viking of great strength, who established a homestead in the rugged landscape of Greenland in 985, is a fantastic starting point. For about 400 years, it seemed that Farserk’s descendants and his clan thrived in a small area along Hvalsey fjord, which is near today’s central town of Qaqortoq in Greenland. The most recent published record even mentions the marriage of Sigrid Bjornsdottir and Thorstein Olafsson in Hvalsey Church in September 1408.

Greenland’s Hvalsey

Image Source: Wikimedia

14. Babylon, Iraq

Babylon, the capital of Babylonia, positioned along the Euphrates River, gained a reputation as one of the world’s most extraordinary cities. It boasted a population of over 200,000 during two significant periods, from 612 to 320 BC and between 1770 to 1670 BC. Even after the tumultuous events of 1180 BC, Babylon remained a prominent city within the Assyrian Empire. Its golden era of opulence is often associated with the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the mastermind behind the renowned Hanging Gardens. Today, the remnants of Babylon can be found in Hillah, Iraq, serving as a testament to its historical grandeur.

Babylon, Iraq

Image Source: Wikimedia

15. Memphis

Memphis, the legendary city associated with King Menes, who unified Upper and Lower Egypt around 3,100 BC, likely served as a stronghold where Menes exerted control over the vital land and sea routes connecting the Delta and Upper Egypt. By the Third Dynasty, Saqqara had evolved into a significant urban center. Over the centuries, Memphis witnessed conquests by various empires, including Persia, Nubia, Assyria, and Macedonia under Alexander the Great. Its religious significance waned with the rise of Christianity and Islam, and after the Muslim invasion in 640 AD, it was abandoned. The remnants include the ancient Temple of Ptah, imperial palaces, and a colossal statue of Rameses II, with the Saqqara Pyramids in proximity.


Image Source: Wikimedia

16. Taxila, Pakistan

One of the lost cities, Taxila, also known as Takshashila, is mentioned in both Indian and Greco-Roman literature, as well as in the accounts of two Chinese Buddhist travelers, Xuanzang and Faxian. It held the distinction of being India’s largest educational institution. According to Hindu mythology from the epic Ramayana, King Bharat, the brother of Lord Rama, founded Taxila. The city is believed to have been named after Taksha, the first ruler and Bharat’s son. However, archaeological excavations have been unable to establish a connection to a period before 600 BC. Despite its legendary origins, Taxila remains a historically significant and fascinating ancient site.

Taxila, Pakistan

Image Source: Wikipedia

17. Mesa Verde Canyon walls, Colorado, USA

Mesa Verde National Park was once the dwelling place of the Anasazi people, who inhabited the area from the 7th to the 15th century AD. The park features approximately 600 cliff dwellings primarily constructed using sandstone, wood, and mortar beneath the protective overhangs of the ridges. Among these historic structures, Cliff Palace stands out as the most famous. This ancient settlement housed around 100 individuals and was accessible via ladders. Mesa Verde National Park offers a remarkable glimpse into the rich history and architectural ingenuity of the Anasazi, making it a captivating archaeological site in the United States.

Mesa Verde Canyon walls, Colorado, USA

Image Source: Penn State University Libraries Architecture

18. Zimbabwe

Great Zimbabwe comprises a collection of stone ruins spanning a vast area in what is now Zimbabwe, giving the location its name. The term “Great” distinguishes it from the many smaller “Zimbabwees” found throughout the country. These structures were constructed by indigenous Bantu people. At its zenith, Great Zimbabwe is believed to have been home to a population of as many as 18,000 individuals. The decline and eventual abandonment of the site are thought to have been prompted by reduced trade, political instability, famine, and water scarcity, which were influenced by changing climatic conditions. Great Zimbabwe remains a testament to a once-thriving civilization.

Great Zimbabwe

Image Source: Wikimedia

19. Bolivia, Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku, situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, held a prominent role as a religious center from 300 BC to 300 AD, drawing numerous visitors. Over time, the city developed into one of the most influential Andean settlements, reaching a population of approximately 30,000 residents by the 9th century. However, Tiwanaku’s eventual abandonment can be attributed to a shift in climate around 1000 AD, along with increasing food scarcity in the region. This led to the decline of this once-thriving civilization, leaving behind archaeological remnants that continue to intrigue and inform our understanding of the past.

Bolivia, Tiwanaku

Image Source: Wikimedia

20. Thebes’ Ancient Tombs, Egypt

One of the lost cities, Thebes served as the capital of Egypt and was a city dedicated to the supreme sun god, Amun, from around 2040 to 1070 BC. Its beauty still stands unmatched to this day. Remarkable architectural feats such as the Karnak Complex, the Temple of Luxor, and the Temple of Ramesses II continue to be celebrated worldwide. Additionally, Thebes is home to the renowned tomb of Tutankhamun. Even today, the city’s legacy persists, captivating visitors with its rich history and extraordinary structures that reflect the grandeur of ancient Egyptian civilization.

Thebes’ Ancient Tombs, Egypt

Image Source: Wikimedia

These are some of the amazing lost cities in the world. Kindly share and post your comments.

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