Intriguing Lost Cities Around the World
Lost Cities were prosperous, well-populated areas of human habitation to the Machu Pichu.
1. Skara Brae Scotland
More a village than a city, this prehistoric set of ruins in Orkney is of a small farming settlement over 5000 years old. It was discovered in 1850 after a wild storm revealed the stone remnants. Excavations (and more storms) showed the village had at least eight stone cottages, complete with beds, hearths and shelves. It seems erosion brought the village closer to the sea, until it was abandoned and left to the enshrouding sands for four millennia. Today, erosion continues to threaten the site, and visits in winter depend on weather conditions.
2. Babylon Iraq
Babylon, settled around 2500 BC, became a great centre of the Mesopotamian world 500 years later, when Hammurabi, the king of the Babylon empire, made it his capital. It was destroyed in the 6th century BC by the Assyrians, and then left to fall into ruin in the 2nd century BC, following the death of Alexander the Great. The ruins of Babylon conjure images of a biblical past: the tower of Babel; the beautiful hanging gardens...and there s that certain disco song that just won t leave your head.
3. Taxila Pakistan
Founded by an ancient Indian King sometime around the 7th century BC, Taxila (or Takshashila) is a tale of three lost cities. The first was built on a hill, later known as Bhir Mound. In an Old Testament style confusion of begats and political intrigue, the city was lost to a new Taxila, known as Sirkap, built by Greek invaders. It enjoyed a period of significance in the world of philosophy and the arts, which continued under the Kushans, who took over and refounded Taxil as Sirsukh. Eventually, the city was lost to the Huns in the 6th century, who destroyed it and left it in ruins. Visit the site today, about 30km northwest of Islamabad. The Taxila Museum houses all manner of artifacts, which help you get a feel for the complex history of this once great city.
4. Dunwich England
Here was a town basking in glory, a major seaport and one of the largest cities in medieval Britain, said to have been the capital of East Anglia Ębut all built on sand. In the late 13th century a storm blew in, demolishing a good part of the town. Coastal erosion chipped in and before you could say cursed city , only a few cottages remained. Tales of haunted beaches abound, and at low tide you might well hear the muted tolling of church bells beneath the waves.
5. Palenque Mexico
At the foot of the Chiapas mountains in southwestern Mexico, Palenque is an archaeologist s treasure trove. The city appears to have existed at least since 100 years BC. Five hundred years later it became a major population centre of Classic Mayan civilisation, complete with myth and legend: child kings, invasions, decapitations, court intrigue and finally the abandonment of the city.
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