Pictures of Ancient CitiesImages of ancient cities
Contemporary cities 34 cities that have been abandoned (with photos & map)
It' hardly imaginable how an whole town can get wasted, but that's exactly what happend to the cities listed here. Actually, there are many good reason why a town has to be left. No matter what the cause, these wasted cities were gradually overlooked until they were re-discovered hundreds of years later.
In 146 BC the Romans demolished the town. The Romans, however, refounded Carthage, which became one of the empire's biggest and most important cities. In 698 A.D. it was again devastated during the Moslem invasion. The Spanish for "Lost City" (Ciudad Perdida) is an ancient town in the Sierra Nevada, Colombia, which was probably established around 800 AD.
It is a prodigal town made up of a set of mountain patios, a net of paved streets and several small squares in a circle. Teyuna is called by members of the community Teyuna and they believe that it was the core of a net of towns populated by their ancestors, the Tairona. She was apparently left during the time of the Spaniards' capture.
Troja is a mythical town in what is now Northwest Turkey, which became popular in Homer's literary Iliad. Troy VIIa was probably the Troy of Homer and was dating from the middle to the end of the 13th centuries BC. Rock faces are relatively well conserved as the apartments were almost immediately after abandonment of the complex populated with sands.
Following the change in climatic conditions, which became increasingly cold and humid, the residents left the town. Memphis, established around 3,100 BC, is the mythical town of Menes, the king who unified Upper and Lower Egypt. In the third dynasty Saqqqara became a big town. Under Alexander the Great it passed to Nubia, Assyria, Persia and Macedonia in succession.
The city was left after the Moslem invasion of Egypt in 640 AD. Caral is situated in the Supe-Valley in Peru and is one of the oldest cities in America. With more than 3,000 residents it is one of the biggest cities of the Norte Chico civilisation. Every town in the Supe-Valley that's ever gone missing has a resemblance to Caral.
Babylon, the capitol of Babylon, an ancient kingdom of Mesopotamia, was a town on the Euphrates. Around 1180 BC the town lost to anaarchy, but after the end of the ninth millennium BC it prospered again as a secondary state of the Assyrian state. From the famous town, today only a hill of crushed clay block houses and ruins has survived in the fruitful Middle Potamian plains between the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq.
Taxila is situated in north-western Pakistan and is an ancient town that was annexed in 518 B.C. by the king Darius the Great. The town was handed over to Alexander the Great in 326 BC. The town, governed by a number of invaders, became an important Buddhist center. It is said that the Thomas emperor went to Taxila in the 1 st cent. AD.
Taxila's wealth in ancient antiquity resulted from its location at the crossroads of three major trading lanes. And when they refused, the whole thing went insignificant. In the fifth millennium it was definitively demolished by the Huns. One of the oldest and most important historic cities of Thailand. Initially a province within the Angkor-based Khmer kingdom, Sukhothai achieved sovereignty in the thirteenth centuries and emerged as the capitol of the first unified and sovereign Tai state.
This ancient hometown is said to have had about 80,000 people. Even Sukhothai was deserted in the early fifteenth or early sixteenth centuries. Timead was a Rumanian settlement in Algeria that was established around 100 AD by Emperor Trajan. Initially conceived for around 15,000 residents, the urban area quickly grew beyond its initial specification and buried the rectangular raster in a looser way.
It was plundered by the Vandals in the fifth century and by the Berbers two hundred years later. Vanished from historical memory, it became one of the cities of the Roman Empire until its 1881 excavations. Sometimes it is called "Old Metropole in the Indus Valley". Probably at its peak, the town had about 35,000 inhabitants.
Most of the city's architecture was progressive, with brick constructions of the same size, sun-dried from fried sludge and burnt timber. Created by Bantu tribes, the building began in the eleventh and lasted over 300 years. Hatra, a large stronghold under the Parthian Empire and capitol of the first Arab kingdom, resisted several Roman incursions thanks to its high, thick and towered fortifications.
In 241 AD the consecrated capital passed to the Sassanid Empire Shapur I and was demolished. Hatra's remains in Iraq, in particular the Temple, where Greek and Rome architectural styles mix with eastern decorations, testify to the grandeur of his civilisation. Sanchi's construction site has more than a thousand years of experience, beginning with the 3 Cor. B.C. stone stupa and ending with a succession of Buddha chapels and convents, now in rubble, built in the middle of the 5th and 6th Cor.
Sanchi was deserted in the thirteenth centuries, after the fall of Buddhism in India, and the jungles quickly entered. In 1818 the missing part of the old town was re-discovered by a policeman. The Hattusa became the Hittite Empire's main town in the seventeenth centuries BC. As part of the Bronze Age breakdown, the town and the Hittite state themselves were demolished around 1200 BC.
Thereafter, the site was given up. According to current estimations, the number of inhabitants of the town is between 40,000 and 50,000 at its high. At the beginning of the twentieth millennium, the missing town in the centre of Turkey was re-discovered by a large archaeological group. Tontafeln (clay tablets), which consist of ancient Middle Eastern law books, processes and literatures, were one of the most important finds in this place.
Chan Chan in Peru was the biggest town in the pre-Columbian America. At the center of the town were several encircled fortresses, which contained rooms for ceremonies, tombs and a temple. Chimu reconstructed the town around 850 A.D. and it took until it was conquered by the Inca Empire in 1470 A.D..
Approximately 30,000 inhabitants live in the town of Chan Chan Chan. In the southwest of Colorado, Mesa Verde is home to the renowned old Anasazi crags. The Anasazi began in the twelfth centuries to build homes in flat caverns and under rocky outcrops along the sides of canyons.
This was a lovely town, decorated with valuable works of art, of which unfortunately very little remains today. Prosepolis continued to be the main town of Persia as a provincial of the great Macedonian Empire, but slowly decreased over the years. Magna Leptis or Lepcis Magna was an important town of the Roman Empire situated in today's Libya.
Septimius Severus (193-211), a former Holy Roman Roman emperor living in Leptis, became a great benefactor of the town. However, in the following century Leptis began to sink due to the growing difficulty of the Empire. Following the Arabian invasion of 642, the prodigal town was destroyed and covered with sandy soil for hundreds of years.
Ürgenç or Urgench, formerly located on the river Amu-Darya in Uzbekistan, was one of the largest cities on the Silk Road. The young wives and daughters were handed over to the Mongolian troops as enslaves, and the remainder of the populace was slaughtered. It was revitalized after its devastation by Genghis, but the abrupt shift of course from Amu-Darya to the northern part compelled the residents to abandon the site forever.
At one time Vijaynagar was one of the biggest cities in the whole word with 500.000 people. India's capital blossomed between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, during the heyday of the Vijayanagarmperium. Then, the triumphant Muslim army continued to demolish, de-populate and demolish the town and its Hindu monasteries over a span of several month.
Tucked away in the jungle of the state of Campeche, Mexico, Calakmul is one of the biggest Mayan cities ever discovered. Kalakmul was a mighty town, questioning Tikal's dominance and pursuing a policy of encompassing it with its own alliance net. Calakmul prevailed from the second half of the sixth millennium A.D. to the end of the seventh millennium A.D., although it did not wipe out the Tikal powers entirely, and Tikal was able to turn the tide in a crucial fight that took place in 695 A.D.
Finally, both cities died of the spread of Mayan meltdown. Palmyra ("City of Palms") was an important and prosperous ancient capital for hundreds of years, situated on the roads of caravans that connected Persia with the Mediterranean harbours of Syria in Rome. Diocletian, the Emperor of Rome, erected a barrier and extended the town in order to protect it from the threats of the Sassanids.
It was conquered by the Muslim Arabs in 634, but remained unspoilt. During the Ottoman Empire the town became an orasis. It was in the seventeenth and seventeenth centuries that its position was re-discovered by travellers from the West. Ctesiphon was one of the biggest cities of the sixteenth centuries and one of the big cities of ancient Mesopotamia.
Due to its importance, Ktesiphon was an important target for the Roman Empire and was taken five time by Rome and later by the Byzantine Empire. In 637, during the Muslim invasion of Persia, the Muslim conquered the area. When the Abbasid capitol Baghdad was founded in the eighth millennium, the country experienced a dramatic downturn and soon became a haunted state.
The Ctesiphon is considered the foundation for the town of Isbanir in the Arabian Nights. The Hvalsey was a farm of the Eastern Settlement, the biggest of the three settlement of the Vikings in Greenland. After the decline of the western settlement in the middle of the 14th c., the eastern settlement lasted another 60-70 years.
Located on a large east-west road, Ani first gained importance in the fifth millennium AD and became a thriving city and capitol of Armenia in the tenth millennium. Some of the most beautiful example of mediaeval architectural style were found in the many temples constructed during this time, which were nicknamed the "City of 1001 Churches".
Ani had a populace of 100,000 to 200,000 up there. Armenia stayed its capital until Mongol invasions in the thirteenth and twentieth hundreds, a disastrous quake in 1319, and changing trading lanes irrevocably reduced it to a state of ruin. Finally the village was deserted and largely neglected for hundreds of years.
The Palenque in Mexico is much smaller than some of the other cities of the Maya that have been destroyed, but it contains some of the best architectures and sculpture the Maya have ever made. It was destroyed in the course of the eighth millennium. A farming community lived here for several successive generation, then the prodigal village was deserted and gradually rededicated from the woods.
Between 15,000 and 30,000 people lived in the largest part of the area, although the latest satellites suggest a much bigger number. Vesuvius burst out on 24 August 79 A.D. and covered the neighbouring Pompeii with ashes and earth, keeping the fortunes of the village intact from that time on. Pompeii, together with Herculaneum, were deserted and finally their name and places were forsaken.
As a result of archaeological digs in the eighteenth centuries they were re-discovered. Prodigal cities have given an extremely detailled glimpse into the lives of humans two thousand years ago. A new civilisation emerged in the Mexico Valley in the 2. centuries BC. Demographic decrease in the sixth centuries AD was associated with long periods of drought associated with climatic changes.
Aztecs venerated and used the tombs of the prodigal town seven hundred years after the fall of the Teotihuacán dynasty and turned them into a place of worship. Petra, the legendary "rose-red town, half as old as time", was the ancient capitol of the Nabata' Kingdoms. An enormous, one-of-a-kind town, cut into the Wadi Musa Canyon in the south of Jordan hundreds of years ago by the Nabataeans, which made it an important hub for the silver and aromatic trails that connected China, India and South Arabia with Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Following several quakes that paralyzed the essential system of managing groundwater, the town was almost entirely deserted in the sixth cenury. Petra was neglected in the West after the Crusades until the loss of the town in 1812 was re-discovered by the traveller Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Tikal was the biggest Maya town between 200 and 900 A.D. with an approximate populace between 100,000 and 200,000 people.
By the time Trek peaked, the area around the town was suffering logging and degradation, followed by a sharp decrease in populations. In the 830 to 950s, however, Mr. Trek was losing the major part of his populace, and the federal government seems to have quickly broken down. By 950 it was almost abandoned, although a small community may have lived in shacks between the remains.
Those too left the town in the tenth or eleventh hundreds and the Guatemalan rain forest stretched the site for the next thousand years. It is a huge Cambodian sanctuary town with the splendid remnants of several capital cities of the Khmer Empire, from the ninth to the fifteenth cent. AD.
Among them are the famed Angkor Wat Tempel, the biggest individual religous memorial in the whole wide range of religions, and the Bayon-Tempel (near Angkor Thom) with its large number of solid stones. Almost all of Angkor was deserted, with the exception of Angkor Wat, which remains a Buddhist sanctuary. Machu Picchu, one of the world's most famed cities to have been forsaken, was re-discovered in 1911 by Hiram, a historian from Hawaii, after having been hiding over the Urubamba Valley for hundreds of years.
Verlorene Stadt der Inkas" is hidden from view from below and totally self-contained, enclosed by farmhouses and irrigated by sources of water. Even though it is known in Peru regionally, it was largely unfamiliar to the outside before it was re-discovered in 1911.