|Lost Cities of the World|
|Last Updated ( Friday, 07 May 2010 )|
The breathtaking city of Petra was a vibrant trading hub that vanished from
most maps in the seventh century A.D. It lay beneath a thousand years of dust
and debris when, in 1812, a Swiss scholar disguised as a Bedouin trader
identified the ruins as the ancient Nabataean capital.
The earliest Maya began to settle the dense rain forests of southwestern Mexico
and Guatemala some 3,000 years ago. For nearly 1,400 years, settlements arose
throughout the region, with some, like Tikal and Palenque (shown here),
expanding into large, vibrant city-states.
Myth, folklore, mystery, and intrigue surround the ancient city of Troy like no
other ruin on Earth. Once thought to be purely imaginary, a prop in Homer's epic
poem The Iliad, excavations in northwestern Turkey in 1871 eventually proved
that the city indeed existed.
The Indus Valley civilization was entirely unknown until 1921, when excavations
in what would become Pakistan revealed the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro
There is evidence that the ancient city of Palmyra, also known as Tadmor, was in existence as far back as the 19th century B.C. Its importance grew around 300 B.C. as trading caravans began using it as a way station between Mesopotamia and Persia. Palmyra's strategic location and prosperity attracted the interest of the Romans, who took control of the city in the first century A.D.
The city of Tanis is relatively unknown among Egypt's wealth of historical sites, though it yielded one of the greatest archeological troves ever found. Once the capital of all Egypt, Tanis's royal tombs have yielded artifacts on par with the treasures of Tutankhamun.
Once thought (erroneously) to be a city of the biblical Queen of Sheba, Great Zimbabwe stands as the most important archaeological site yet found in sub-Saharan Africa. Though historians are still seeking answers about the origin and purpose of the city, evidence suggests the Shona, ancestors of the modern Bantu, built it beginning around A.D. 1250 and that it served as a spiritual center.
Nimrud in northern Iraq was once the capital of the Assyrian empire. Feared as
bloodthirsty and vicious, the Assyrians arose around the 14th century B.C. and
dominated the Middle East for a thousand years.
The ancient city of Persepolis in modern-day Iran was one of four capitals of
the sprawling Persian Empire. Built beginning around 520 B.C., the city was a
showcase for the empire's staggering wealth, with grand architecture,
extravagant works of silver and gold, and extensive relief sculptures such as
this one portraying envoys with offerings for the king.
Over centuries of study, archaeologists have discovered many truths about the famed Stonehenge monument in southern England. But despite these advances, the basic questions of who built this iconic structure and why have remained unanswered.
More than 600 cliff dwellings made by the ancestral Pueblo people, also known as
the Anasazi, are scattered throughout Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado
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