Explorers, scholars, sailors, and even divers have rediscovered ancient cities that have been hidden for many centuries. Each of these historic cities has unbelievable legends associated with them.
Here is a list of lost ancient cities whose mysteries got unraveled when they got discovered by modern day archeologists.
The legend of the Trojan War is One of the most powerful stories from ancient Greek literature and forms the basis of Homer’s The Iliad. Ancient Troy commanded a strategic point at the southern entrance to the Dardanelles, a narrow strait linking the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea. For centuries, people claimed that the legend of Troy was just a story based on myth, not history until German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann Excavated a mysterious mound known as Hisarlik. The actual site where the city of Troy was located has about 9 different layers of settlements, towns and cities that could have been the Troy led by King Priam whose son Paris, ran away with Helen, wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta.
When Pompeii was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius, the City was buried under layers of volcanic rock and ash—frozen in time—until its rediscovery and exploration in the 18th century. Pompeii had a population of between 10,000 to 20,000 people and was famous for its excellent farmland. To this day, Vesuvius Remains one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes; some 3.5 million Italians live in its shadow, and about 2 million tourists visit the ruins each year. Although monitoring devices are in place if there is a major eruption with little warning and the winds are blowing toward Naples there could be another major disaster.
Harappa and Mohenjo Daro
The discovery of the Indus Valley civilization (aka the Harappan Civilization) in what is now Pakistan was first recorded in the 1800’s by the British. The locals also knew about it before then but there was no widespread archaeological excavation until the 1920s. This mysterious culture emerged nearly 4,500 years ago and thrived for a thousand years, profiting from the highly fertile lands of the Indus River floodplain and trade with the civilizations of nearby Mesopotamia. Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were highly advanced cities of their time, with Remarkably sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning reaching their golden age between 2,600 to 1900 BCE.
Located in the foothills of the Chiapas altiplano of modern Mexico, Palenque was an important Maya city which flourished between c. 600 and 750 CE. Palenque’s importance doesn’t lie in its age rather in its naturalistic sculpture, architectural inventiveness, and detailed epigraphic record. It was one of the greatest discoveries in Mesoamerican archaeology, and it finally proved that the great Maya pyramids had not simply been built as temples but also as tombs for great rulers, just as in ancient Egypt.
Carved directly into vibrant red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces, the prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years. Located amid rugged desert canyons and mountains in what is now the southwestern corner of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Petra was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106. The Nabataeans were known for their efficient water collecting techniques and for their ability to carve settlements directly into rocks. Several scenes from the Hollywood blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed in Petra.
Deep in the jungles of southeast Asia, archaeologists have rediscovered the remains of an invisible kingdom that may have been the template for Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares. It was built by the estranged Tamil King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura. It has taken over 100 years to uncover Angkor street by street. Recently archeologists had to use remote sensing technology to discover mind-boggling architecture and facilities.
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