It was always considered a childhood fantasy for most growing up to discover untouched parts of the world. Whether in the hopes of finding gold or other discoveries, this dream seemed only futile. There are hundreds of places in the world that are relatively left uninhabited, but still come with a lot of history, myths, or interesting stories. Most are known tourist sites, others receive relatively small numbers of visitors a year. Today, we will take a look at 10 of these locations available all around the world.
The civilization of Teotihuacán was established with the building of the step pyramid pictured above. Teotihuacán lived and prospered, but the climate of the hot region made it uninhabitable. Now, after being visited and even sanctified by various groups, ending with the Aztecs, it has become a tourist attraction for those coming to Mexico.
The lost city of Ctesiphon’s past, now located in Iraq, was one of the largest civilizations in the world. Now, mainly known for the building pictured above, it has been uninhabited since the year 639. Mesopotamia was an important region that included various important figures in history and religion. Now, despite being a tourist site, some have found difficulty visiting the site due to it’s nearby volatile location.
Churches and medieval architecture graced this 10th century former capital of the modern-day country of Armenia/Turkey. For three centuries the city was famous, but Mother Nature was the downfall of Ani. A destructive earthquake all but leveled the area. This not only leveled buildings, it toppled the economic health of Ani, and this ultimately caused those who survived to leave for other trade routes. The vast landscape is now peppered with ruins, rocks, and rubble, but there are still various buildings that still stand and await your visit.
Persepolis was the capital city of the Persian Empire. It was a city filled with art that didn’t survive its downfall. The disheartening truth about this lost city, compared to the others listed, is that Persepolis failed from the destruction of another group of individuals behind Alexander the Great. While this didn’t prevent Persepolis from surviving, it did make it difficult to thrive and Persepolis eventually became uninhabited.
5. Machu Pichu
Machu Pichu is somewhat of a poster child for lost cities. It is the most visited, the most pictured, and some have contested it’s the most picturesque. The rocks and former terraces, combined with the high elevations of Peru that make it jaw-dropping on a partly clouded day make it a must see for anyone visiting Peru. Despite it’s notoriety, Machu Pichu has only been in the world scope for a little over a century. It certainly makes you wonder what other parts of the world go undiscovered.
6. Chan Chan
Machu Pichu isn’t the only lost city in modern-day Peru. Chan Chan is quite stunning and the intricate art work that still stands in the adobe brick common of the region is very unique. This beauty is overshadowed by the reasoning behind its demise, occurring after the Incan conquest of the city in the late 1400s. Since then, the thousands of previous residents of the now lost city are replaced by tourists visiting Peru.
Founded by Emperor Trajan in 100 AD, Timgad was what we would now call an overcrowded city. While the population wasn’t extravagantly grand in the beginning, the city in modern-day Algeria simply wasn’t large enough to hold that population growth. While conquest by the Berber community that still is situated to this day in much of North Africa was the cause of Timgad’s demise, overpopulation could have also contributed to the inability to protect all of its citizens.
This modern-day Thai lost city is unique not only in the beautiful art and statues left behind, but also in its claim to fame as one of the oldest cities of traceable history. It was vibrant, large, and had a huge population to match. However, the establishment of the city of Ayutthaya proved that Sukhothai was unable to survive, with the population leaving for better opportunities in the newly established city. Once Sukhothai was conquered, there was no question the city would ultimately see its demise.
Mohenjo-daro is one of the first instances of the modern city centres that we know of today. From Mohenjo-daro, we see characteristics of a modern route, including streets and homes. After almost a millennium of existence, what is most haunting about the transition to becoming a lost city is that it is unknown how it became such. Accounts and historical evidence, along with the well-advanced construction and climate in this modern-day Pakistani locale, don’t point to a cause of demise.
Petra has come to symbolize Jordan. This lost city, located in the south of the country, was once the Nabataean capital city. Now, one of the most famous tourist attractions in the Middle East is getting the respect and reverence that was lost before its discovery in the early 1800s. Prior to that, Petra fell to becoming a lost city after natural disasters severed any further development and trade routes, one of the most important on the Silk Road. If you are visiting Jordan, being able to see this once vibrant lost city is a must.
Featured photo credit: Wilson Tovar via unsplash.com