Throughout our planet’s long history, countless civilizations have risen and fallen. They left a mark in antiquity by building incredible cities that challenge our very own understanding of history.
In this article, we take a look at some of the most incredible ancient, lost cities you’ve most likely never heard about.
Angamuco—a lost, undocumented city
Angamuco is a long-lost city in Mexico that is believed to have had as many buildings as Manhattan. The city was uncovered using laser surveying technology in Western Mexico.
It is believed that at its prime, the ancient city of Angamuco had around 40,000 structures spread over an area of around 25sq km, meaning that it’s roughly about the same number of buildings as Manhattan, but on a much smaller plot of land.
Termessos—The Ancient City That Alexander the Great didn’t conquer
A city that Alexander the Great wanted to conquer, but never managed to.
Termessos was founded on a natural platform on top of Güllük Dağı, near Antalya in modern-day Turkey, soaring to a height of 1,665 meters.
The city, hidden within a mountain, was under siege by Alexander Great in 333 BC. However, he never managed to conquer it.
The city features a Roman-style theater built to house up to five thousand spectators.
The city of Termesos was abandoned in 200 AD after an earthquake destroyed important parts of the city, including its primary aqueduct.
Baial—The Lost Las Vegas of Rome
Baia was an ancient city dubbed by experts as the Las Vegas of the ancient Roman Empire. After having been sacked and abandoned, eventually, it sank in a bay near Naples. Today, the city is visited by divers who enjoy incredibly well-preserved buildings and statues.
Ruins of Gedi
Located near the Indian Ocean, east of Kenya. The ancient city of Gedi included a massive wall that protected the town. The Gedi ruins were first discovered by colonialists in 1884 after a British resident of Zanzibar, Sir John Kirk, visited the site. Most archaeologists agree that the city was of great commercial value. The city was one of the most advanced ancient sites in the region. Guess what? Its inhabitants had flush toilets hundreds of years ago!
The Legendary City of Troy
Thought to be a mere myth, the ancient city of Troy was actually found in modern-day Turkey. According to Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, it was here where the Trojan War took place.
Today, the archaeological site of Troy is home to a treasure trove of historical artifacts. The site contains several layers of ruins. The present-day location is known as Hisarlik.
Timgad—The Lost city of the Roman Empire
Founded by Emperor Trajan around 100 AD, Timgad was a Roman military colonial town located in modern-day Algeria.
The ancient city is famous for representing one of the best-preserved examples of the grid plan as used in Roman town planning.
Chan Chan—Peru’s little-known diamond
Peru is home to countless incredible archaeological sites. One of them is Chan Chan. This ancient city is considered by archaeologists as the largest city to exist in pre-Colombian America.
The city is home to a number of walled citadels which are believed to have housed ceremonial rooms, burial chambers as well as temples.
Around 30,000 people called the city of Chan Chan, their home.
The buildings of Chan Chan were built using adobe brick and were finished with mud that was adorned with patterned relief arabesques.
Vijayanagara—one of the largest ancient cities in the world
The ancient city of Vijayanagara was one of the largest cities in the world, home to more than 500,000 inhabitants. The ancient Hindu city flourished between the 14th century and 16th centuries. The city was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. The name translates as “City of Victory”.
Ctesiphon—one of the greatest cities in Mesopotamia
The ancient city of Ctesiphon was one of the largest cities on the surface of the planet, as well as one of the most imposing cities in ancient Mesopotamia.
Ctesiphon was captured by Rome and the Byzantine Empire five times. The city is located on the eastern bank of the Tigris. Ctesiphon is believed to have been founded sometime in the late 120’s BC. The most conspicuous structure remaining today is the Taq Kasra, sometimes called the Archway of Ctesiphon.
Ciudad Perdida—The Lost City of Colombia
Located in the Sierra Nevada, Colombia lay the ruins of a Lost City. Believed to have been founded around 800AD, the city is home to countless terraces carved in ancient times into the Colombian mountainside.