10 Mysterious Ruins of Ancient Cities

Top 10 most mysterious places specifically lost cities found underwater and in the jungle built by ancient civilizations in history,

5 Thonis-Heracleion, Egypt
Heracleion, also known as Thonis, was an ancient Egyptian city, located about 32 kilometers northeast of Alexandria. It used to be a very important city near the end of the Age of Pharaohs, when it served as Egypt’s main international port, a bustling hub of trade and tax collection. Heracleion was a canal city, built on several adjoining islands in the delta of the river Nile. It has been mentioned by a few Ancient Greek historians, and legends place its origins somewhere around the 12th century BC. It is variously believed that Thonis is where Paris and Helen of Troy stopped to seek refuge while on the run from king Menelaus, and also that this was the place where Heracles first landed when coming to Africa (hence the alternate name). The city is believed to have sunk somewhere around the end of the second century BC. What has been excavated so far lies in the Abu Qir Bay, about 2.5 kilometers off the coast, under 10 meters of water and sand.

4 Shisr, Oman
This city is variously known as Ubar, Wabar and Iram (as in, Iram of the Pillars, a name found in the Quran which might refer to an actual city, a larger area or even a tribe), but it is more romantically referred to as “The Atlantis of the Sands.” It is located in Shisr, in Oman. The great discovery was made by a team of archaeologists led by Nicholas Clapp, and including Sir Ranulph Fiennes among its members. It was publicized in the New York Times back in February 1992, and since then, opinions are still harshly divided as to what the true origin of the excavation is, and whether it is truly the mythical Atlantis of the desert. Teams have discovered artifacts from Greece, Rome and Persia, which suggests that these ancient civilizations may have met and traded in this desert outpost. There is a fence and guards around the excavation site, but adventurers can schedule an excursion from Salalah.

3 Caracol, Belize
This is an enormous archaeological site of the ancient Mayas, covering twice the area of the modern Belize City, standing at an altitude of 500 meters on the Vaca Plateau. Its location has been renamed as the Cayo District of Belize following the discovery of the ruins. Funnily enough, the name Caracol means “spiral-shaped” (referring to the road to the ruins), but also “snail shell”: local tour guides joke about enormous snail populations onsite, and researchers often refer to it as “that one place with all the snails”. Its original name (discovered on a glyph) was most likely “Three-Hills Water” or “Three Hills Lord”. It was one of the most important regional political centers of the Maya Lowlands, and its buildings are set in distinct architectural groups, such as the Acropolis, The Plazas, the Ballroom etc.

2 Ingapirca, Ecuador
Also called Inkapirka, which literally means “the Inca’s Wall”. The local town in Cañar Province has been named after this archeological site. These are the largest Incan ruins in Ecuador, and their most significant feature is the Temple of the Sun, built in a huge ellipse around a large piece of rock. Its original inhabitants were actually the Cañari indigenous people, and the Incas came later on, when their empire started expanding into the southern reaches of Ecuador. The natives, however, proved difficult to conquer, and the matter was settled by a political marriage between the Cañari princess and the Inca Túpac Yupanqui. The architecture and discovered artifacts testify to the divided culture: the Incas and the Cañari both kept their own customs, and this is evident from the remains of festivals and ritual celebrations scattered through the temple complex. It’s worth noting that the temple was built in the distinctive Inca way (without any mortar, the stones were individually chiseled to fit perfectly together).

1 Ciudad Perdida, Colombia’s Sierra Nevada
Ciudad Perida means “Lost City” in Spanish, and the name is very fitting, because most of the ruins are still inaccessible, devoured by the forest. The archeological location is also known as Teyuna and Buritaca, and has been dated to around 800 BC, which places it some 650 years earlier on the timeline than the famous Machu Picchu. It was discovered by a group of local treasure looters in 1972. Archeologists reached it four years later and completed its reconstruction by 1982. The local tribes believe it was the center of a network of settlements inhabited by their ancestors, the Tairona, and have been visiting the site regularly before its discovery, but kept it secret. It has been abandoned during the Spanish Conquest, but researchers believe it was a home to some 2,000 – 8,000 people in its time. Nowadays, it is a very popular hikers’ destination.

  1. dRock1620 4life says:

    an excellent piece. well edited and narrated. i think more subs will be headed your way soon.

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