When residents abandon the city they live in, that very same city becomes deserted and by default lost. The following list accentuates forsaken cities which have been rediscovered subsequently.


Homer popularized Troy with his first introduction of the city in literature. It is a commonly known fact that the locale of the Trojan War was there. Troy was a romanticized city at the time in modern day Turkey. Hardly approachable for being fortified, Troy stood on a hill near the river Scamander. The city had an abundance of plains and arable land which made farming develop a lot.

Back then, Troy was a naval base and served as a solid ground for aspiring writers to create their mythological stories upon. It was excavated however, in the 1870s by Heinrich Schliemann. He was the man who uncovered the numerous cities at the locale, which over the years had been built one on top of another. Due to innumerable excavations, it is said that the locale is now not very eye-catching which comes as a result of years and years of digging and plundering by tourists.


The nearby volcano Vesuvius destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii in AD 79.  After Vesuvius erupted, it buried the whole community under 60 feet of ember and rock. According to records, the city had around 20,000 inhabitants at the time, and it was considered to be one of the major sightseeing venues for the aristocratic Roman society.

The ruins from the eruption lasted for 1,700 years before being inadvertently rediscovered in 1748 by laborers building a palace for the King of Naples. From that moment on, Pompeii has endured many lengthy excavations by archeologists.

The fun part about this is the fact that the wreckage caused by Vesuvius also helped conserve the city’s architecture along with copious frescoes and sculptures. Hence, Pompeii served as a platform upon which historians could gather a clearer understanding of how was life in ancient Rome.


The capital of ancient Egypt was founded in 3,100 B.C. Memphis was the civilization’s administrative center for hundreds of years before being abandoned with the rise of Thebes and Alexandria. At the time, it was evaluated that Memphis encompassed a population of more than 30,000. Rightfully, this makes Memphis to be the biggest city of antiquity. It got lost with the time but only inadvertently so, it was rediscovered by a Napoleonic expedition in the late 1700s. After the discovery, the city’s sphinx, statues and temples were first seriously studied by archeologists who were impressed by the findings. People however, built their dwellings from the stones, so certain parts had been lost and have therefore turned into a mystery for historians.


The Angkor region of Cambodia well assisted as the center of power for the Khmer Empire from 800 AD to the 1400s. The region was deserted after a decadence which concluded with an invasion by a Thai army in 1431, leaving the city together with its thousands of Buddhist temples to be recuperated by the wilderness. The city was untouched until the 1800s but then a group of French archeologists showed interest in it. They began studying it and restoring it.

Angkor and its surroundings, nearly the magnitude of Los Angeles, have since been known as the biggest pre-manufacturing city in the world. That is not the only thing Angkor can boast about. Angkor Wat, the popular temple, is the largest religious cenotaph that has ever existed in the history of time.

El Dorado

Among the most renowned of lost cities was El Dorado, the mythical empire allegedly found in the jungles of South America. “The Golden One” was the literal meaning in Spanish.

It was ruled by a mighty king and was also the seat of an infinite abundance of gems, jewels and gold.  The city was prone to constant fascination and as such, a number of expeditions to find the treasures were organized, each of which ended in failure.

Gonzalo Pizarro in 1541 led a group of 300 soldiers and several thousand Indians into the jungle in hopes to find El Dorado. They found no living proof of the city or its treasures, sadly enough though; the group was struck by ill health and infirmity, famine, and attacks by natives, so the expedition had to be abandoned. The following model is exhibited in the Gold Museum, Bogotá, Colombia:

Machu Picchu

It was only when historian Hiram Bingham visited the city in 1911 that it became known outside of the region. Previously, the secluded city was known only to its dwellers. It is important to note that of all the lost cities which have been found and studied, none is more mysterious than Machu Picchu. The city was isolated and near the Urubamba Valley in Peru.

Its location was never found which made it impossible for conquerors to plunder it. Machu Picchu was dissevered into districts, and encompassed over 140 different structures encircled by polished stone walls. Archeologists say it has been constructed in the 1400s by the Incas and deserted less than 100 years later. The reason for that was probably because the population was struck by smallpox brought over from Europeans. Even nowadays, people often speculate why the Incas chose such a peculiar location for the city.

Some have said it was a prison, while others firmly believe it was served as a temple. More prompt research indicates that it was likely to be a personal property of the Inca emperor Pachacuti; as for the location, the emperor chose it probably because of the surrounding mountains. In the Inca astrological mythology, that suggested a high prominence in astrology.