Mankind as a whole can take on such incredible experiences. I mean when we were kids, we were taught that there are 9 planets and now technically it is said that our solar system contains only 8 planets. Similarly, till the 1850s Mount Everest had not been recognized as the world’s highest peak, so, imagine if you existed almost two centuries ago you would have lived and died thinking of some other mountain as the highest. The Barrier Reef of Belize is the second largest in the world but it was actually a glacial structure which fell into the water as the result of an Ice Age, so, once again creatures from different times would see it as a completely different thing. And, then of course, there’s the city of Atlantis – the most romanticized lost city, said to be buried beneath the water even as some brush it off as fiction (Hello, Aquaman!) and others tie it to some traces to call it factual (such as the Eye of the Sahara).
All this only leaves us so amazed right? The world as we know it is simply transient. This is a temporary reality and, in another time, it’ll be something else altogether. This brings us to how through the course of time we have stumbled upon or painstakingly searched for and eventually discovered multiple lost cities around the world. Some such Machu Picchu (Peru), Petra (Jordan) and Angkor Wat (Cambodia) have become world famous tourist spots as people from all over the world flock to see these historical ancient sites existing within our modern world. Here’s a look at 5 other mind-boggling ones:
Approximately dates back to: 600 BC – 900 AD
Discovered in: 1840s
How to reach: Fly down to Guatemala City and from there catch a local bus till Tikal.
Best time to visit: September to January
Tikal is a Mayan city stretched around in Guatemala. It’s not just any Mayan city but was actually the Mayan capital which inhabited over 100,000 people! This city with its ruins has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The archaeological wonder houses limestone and rock-based structures including temples, palaces, platforms and even administrative buildings. However, in a gut-wrenching but equally intriguing turn of events it was also deduced that the city probably followed a practice of human sacrifice. The graffiti found on the walls indicates such practices both with the use of a bow and arrow and also with the use of stakes.
Approximately dates back to: the 5th century
Discovered in: 2000
Now we’ve all heard so much about the underwater city of Atlantis which is still regarded as a mythical city. In the meanwhile, we must not overlook an honest to god underwater city that has actually been discovered! Many had also pondered over whether Heracleion was factual or fictional. When it was finally discovered, it was not merely stumbled upon but traced 150 feet deep within the water! Located near the surface of Egypt’s Bay of Aboukir (known for the Battle of Nile), the city was found to hold in its ruined yet surviving treasures – 64 ships, 700 anchors, 16 feet tall statues and innumerable gold coins. But before you and I run wild with our imaginations, I have to break it to you that studies state that it existed above ground and horribly became susceptible to natural disasters, thus, ending up in the depths of the water. Sigh. But don’t worry, there’s so much of the world to be discovered, who knows there just be an underwater city where people do live under the water? 😉
Approximately dates back to: 12th century
Discovered in: probably in the 1700s
How to reach: Fly in to Greenland and then make your way to the southern town of Qaqartoq. From there one can find guided tours which bring one to Hvalsey by sail boats.
Best time to visit: June to September
Hvalsey is believed to have been home to the Norse people, approximately to 4,000 of them. The church found here is believed to date back to the 14th century but researchers have suggested that it might not have been the first of its kind in the area. The parish church served not only to those residing near its fjord but to the neighbouring fjords as well. When you visit the beautiful island country of Greenland, a visit to Hvalsey is for the ones who are curious about the Norse people. Legend even states that the Eskimos and the Norsemen got into many fights following which at one point the Eskimos burnt the Norse people right inside their own houses!
Approximately dates back to: 100 AD
Discovered in: 1765
How to reach: First catch a flight to Batna and from there you can book a taxi to take you to your destination.
Best time to visit: April to March, October to November
When we think of the Sahara Desert, we think of an expanse of sand and nothingness. Yet over the 11 countries that it stretches over, some have manged making well-developed cities within. But the most astounding has to be the discovery of a Roman outpost at the edge of the desert in Algeria! With courts, public baths, library, theatres and the trademark style columns, the architectural presence of Roman influence is so evident here that the moment you set foot, you’d know of it right away. It is believed to have been established by emperor Trajan who made the city significant as it became strategic for defeating Numidia. From the intersection points at the roads to the maintenance of other aspects of the city, the archaeological efforts suggest that the people here truly did lead an essentially Roman lifestyle. Yes, all the way in Algeria!
Approximately dates back to: 3rd century BCE
Discovered in: 1818
How to reach: Bhopal is the closest city to either catch a flight or even take a train. From there you can hop on a bus, a taxi or book yourself a car to reach Sanchi.
Best time to visit: November to March
What?! You weren’t expecting this? Nah nah, I’m not saying you didn’t know this. You sure did and maybe as you saw the name you remembered a childhood history lesson about this. 😉 But I think now that Sanchi has become such a majorly significant Buddhist site, a place of historical importance thanks to the influence of Asoka and of course, an overall place of great tourist interest, I just wondered if we remembered that this wasn’t always the case? For a good amount of time, 600 years to be precise, the city and the stupa had remained buried! It was much later that it came to be excavated and opened up so wholeheartedly. Also, this isn’t the only city that was discovered in India. In fact, there are a handful that were discovered in our country itself! Can you name them?
So, tell me, curious one, which lost city is your inquisitive mind most eager to explore itself?