The Greatest Lost Cities in the World by MER Patrimony

Founded, Thrived, but Ultimately Forgotten:

The Greatest Lost Cities in the World

Living in the age of modern technologies, we forget about the existence of this ancient world that still chases us as the ghost. When you visit such megapolises as New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or other modern cities, it’s sometimes hard to imagine how these ancient lost cities looked thousands of years ago.

Once thriving and affluent communities turned into legends. If you’ve always wondered how these cities looked in the past or dreamed of visiting these places, read our article to plunge into the atmosphere of ancient civilizations. So, let’s check the list of some of the most notable lost cities around the world!

Once thriving and affluent communities turned into legends. If you’ve always wondered how these cities looked in the past or dreamed of visiting these places, read our article to plunge into the atmosphere of ancient civilizations. So, let’s check the list of some of the most notable lost cities around the world!

Ctesiphon, Iraq 


Being one of the ancient historical gems, Ctesiphon was the Parthian Empire’s capital, and now, its remainings still produce a magnificent impression. This lost city’s landmark is the enormous vaulted hall with the world’s largest arch made of bricks. In the past, it was the throne room of 30m high and 48m long.

Though Ctesiphon used to be the largest city in the world with a population of about 500,000 people, it went to rapid decline during the period of the Islamic conquests and soon turned into a ghost town. Later, the Tigris river swept away most of the buildings, but particular measures have been taken to save this city from collapsing. Today we can enjoy the ancient magnitude of this forgotten city. 

Ctesiphon, Iraq - lost city’s landmark

Mesa Verde, Colorado, USA


This ancient lost city belongs to UNESCO World Heritage as a part of Mesa Verde National Park. Over 600 cliff dwellings remind us about the Anasazi people who used to live there from the 7th to 14th centuries AD. Interestingly, Mesa Verde is mostly made of sandstone, wood, and mortar. Cliff Palace, for instance, used to be a home for 100 people, and in order to reach this multiple-housed residence, you need to use ladders. Mesa Verde is a truly unique site, which imbues every visitor with inspiration to live and explore the world. 

Mesa Verde, Colorado - ancient lost city

Vijayanagar, India


In 1500 AD, Vijayanagar was the core of the greatest empire in southern India and had twice the population of modern Paris. The architecture of this ancient city is nothing you’ve ever seen before. There is an atmospheric village in the center of the old Vijayanagar ruins called Hampi with a number of holy places, including the stunning Virupaksha Temple. This is the place where the past meets modernity! 

Vijayanagar, India. The architecture of ancient city

Thebes, Egypt


Thebes is another ancient lost city that stands side-by-side with modern life. Being Egypt’s capital 2040 BC, Thebes was dedicated to the supreme sun god, Amon. Nowadays, tourists can still enjoy the splendor of the Temple of Ramesses II, the Temple of Luxor, Karnak Complex, and even the tomb of Tutankhamun. If you’re a fan of Egyptian history, Thebes is a go-to place to catch the spirit of ancient Egypt. 

Thebes - lost city of ancient Egypt

Persepolis, Iran


Built by Darius I in 518 BC, Persepolis was a marvelous city with the Achaemenid style of architecture. Constructing a number of powerful Persian columns and stone-made buildings such as houses for the King, halls, occasional houses, the treasury, and military quarters took over a century to build the city. In its past glory, Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the mighty Persian Empire. 

With its stunning beauty and a profusion of precious artworks, this ancient lost city has been alluring many visitors who, when getting to Persepolis, usually walk by its streets. Unfortunately, we can enjoy only a share of Persepolis’ ancient glory.

Persepolis, Iran - ancient lost city with beauty and a profusion of precious artworks

Pompeii, Italy


Pompeii is commonly known as a dead city. What destroyed the roman colonies of Pompeii is a dreadful volcanic eruption. When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the city was covered with a massive ash and soil wave. As a result, lots of people, buildings, and other assets were buried alive. At the same time, this volcanic eruption allowed preserving objects in a perfect state, and currently, we can see them the way they used to be. Jars, tables, paintings, animals, and even people were frozen in time. 

That’s why everyone can visit Pompei, feel the atmosphere, and get a detailed insight into ancient Rome’s life and the misfortune that happened to it. 

Pompeii, Italy - ancient Rome’s life

Angkor, Cambodia


Once you visit Angkor, you’ll see an awe-inspiring building that stretches over 400 square kilometers, including the Angkor Wat, the Bayon temple, the Hindu temple, a lot of fir-cone towers, unique sculptures of human faces, carved Hindu myths on the reliefs. One of its kind architecture is for sure a landmark of this ancient lost city

Digging into history, Angkor had thriving from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. Due to the abundance of temples, the city was a religious center in the Khmer Empire. Angkor ceased to exist during the invasion of Ayutthaya, but it was already experiencing the decline. Interestingly, the Angkor Wat still serves as a Buddhistic shrine.

Angkor, Cambodia - Unique architecture of ancient lost city

Xanadu, China


Xanadu used to be a legendary city that chased a lot of those who wanted to find it. Among these people was Stephen Bushell, a British diplomat. For many years, Xanadu was considered a lost city, but the idea to find it had captured Bushell’s mind. Inspired by the poem written by Samuel Coleridge, he traveled across Mongolia in search of this legendary land, which did not bring any results. This story has a happy ending as the traveler found it 350km north of Beijing in 1872. 

Even though only the ruins of Xanadu have been preserved till nowadays, this ancient lost city still impresses everyone with marble palaces, stone sculptures of lions and dragons, and the main gates with a 6-meters height arch. The ex-residence of the emperor didn’t lose all of its majesties even today. The aura of affluence and opulence is still in the air.

Xanadu, China - ancient lost city

Explore the Ancient Lost Cities to Dive into Lost Civilizations! 


Either by war or natural phenomena, many ancient cities have been erased from humanity’s memories for many centuries. But we still can enjoy their alluring beauty and artistic masterpieces. By visiting lost cities, you get a ticket to the ancient world where you can feel the atmosphere of past epochs.

Though these ancient lost cities are lying in ruins now, they give you a bouquet of impressions and inspirations. Get that refined experience to visit such old cities, cities that are teeming with stories from the past. 

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