In the world around you and the one that is away from your eyes, there are a lot of elements that can leave you astounded. There had been entire well-settled cities that had been destructed or lost. However, these are still some of the greatest attractions for interested travelers. Well, for such interests, I am up with the list of most fascinating lost cities of the ancients.
Even when the cities no more breathe life, there are numerous fascinating elements that are to be explored here. History is a book filled with endless astonishing chapters out of which some are marked as abandoned yet appreciable. Such are some of the lost cities in the world.
Amazing Ancient Lost Cities In the World
This may hold on to a great interest for travelers who are passionate about exploring history. However, if you are not sure about which excursion to take, here are some of the best picks for you:
1. Chichen Itza, Mexico
Apart from the spectacular beaches, this is one of the most popular attractions situated on the Yucatan Peninsula. With a culturally advanced civilization, this was known to be a wealthy Mayan city. Along with ruins, there are also, well-preserved structures conveying a lot of stories of the past and the mastermind architectural insights.
El Castilo remains to be a major attraction here with 365 steps reaching up 90 feet high allure the place and remains to be popular among tourists worldwide.
Location: Tinúm Municipality, Yucatan, Mexico
Nearby Attractions: Templo de Kukulkan, Gran Juego de Pelota, Temple of the Warriors, El Caracol, The Red House Chichanchob, Sacred Cenote, Cenote Ik kil.
Timings: Open every day from 8 am to 5 pm.
Entry Charges: 188 pesos per person for (Non-Mexicans); Free for children 12 and under and there’s an extra charge for use of a video camera or tripod on the site.
Note: The entry charges at Chichen Itza as of 2018 is: $242 pesos per person*
2. Machu Picchu, Peru
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This is one of the most photographed, most visited and perhaps the most picturesque among all lost cities. Set amidst some extremely spectacular mountain regions, this ancient city allures terraces, rocks, and beautiful high elevations. On a partly clouded day, this view is truly mesmerizing.
You may also choose to take up the Inca trail for an experience of a lifetime. Hiking would surely let you soak in the tranquility of the surroundings well.
Location: 08680, Peru
Nearby Attractions: Huayna Picchu, Intihuatana Stone, Inca Bridge, Temple Of Condor, Paucarcancha Ruins, Winay Wayna, Moon Temple, Temple Of The Sun, The Sacred Rock, Roca Sagrada.
Timings: The visiting hours are from 6 am to 5.30 pm and it’s closed at night. Also, the entrance to Machu Picchu is in two shifts now:
- Morning shift: from 6 am to 12 pm
- Afternoon shift: from 12 pm to 5.30 pm
- For foreigners, it includes generally nationalities of other countries and the prices for that are:
Adult – $ 70; For Students not more than 25 – $ 41;
- For Andean Community, countries – Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, prices are –
Adult – $ 37; For Students not more than 25 – $ 27;
3. Pompeii, Italy
This is one of the best among any lost cities of the ancients. This popular ancient city was known to be destroyed in 79 AD due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The city was known to turn into ashes and these ashes also worked well in keeping it preserved.
The fleeing citizens here were known to freeze into the mid-escape positions as it is and converted to mummies. There are ancient amphitheaters, forums, and bakeries. The city remained buried under ashes for over 1700 years. This is moreover, a great exploration.
Location: 80045 Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy
Nearby Attractions: Antiquarium, Forum, Theaters, Stabian Baths, House of Menander, Nuovi Scavi, House of the Vettii, Western Houses, Street of Tombs.
- April through October: 9 am – 7:30 pm (last entry at 6 pm)
- November through March: 9 am – 5 pm (last entry at 3:30 pm)
- Closed: 1 January, 1 May, 25 December
- Pompeii daily ticket: Full price EUR 15; discounted EUR 9
Discount on Tickets:
- The entry is free to all EU citizens under 18.
- EU citizens under 24 have a special discount.
4. Petra, Jordan
Situate amidst the basic mountains on the slope of Mount Hor. This ancient existence allures the valley connecting the Dead Sea and Gulf of Aqaba.
There are many impressive rock carvings and stone structures narrating stories of its past. Hued in rose-red, this city is an awe-inspiring cultural heritage at the place. Visiting here would prove to be an amazing experience.
Nearby Attractions: Street of Facades, Al-Khazneh, The Royal Tombs, Colonnaded Street, The Great Temple.
Timings: The visiting hours of Petra is open each day from 6 am to 6 pm during Summers and 6 am to 4 pm in Winters.
Entrance charges for the accommodated visitor (visitors who stay at at least one night in Jordan)
- One Day – 50 (J.D)
- Two Day – 55 (J.D)
- Three Day – 60 (J.D)
Entry charges for the accommodated visitors who visit Petra in the first day of his /her arrival from the border – 90 JD – 40 JD = 50 JD
- * For the accommodated visitors who go to Petra in the first day of their arrival from the borders they will have to pay the border ticket fees (90JD) and return in the next day to get a refund of 40 JD.
- Entrance fee for the non-accommodated visitor: (90 JD)
5. Sukhothai, Thailand
Known to be one of the oldest traceable cities in world history, Sukhothai is popular for the unique artworks it allures. Situated in the Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand this is a probably great attraction among travelers and explorers.
It is a 27 square miles of land boasting over 200 ruins which hold on to fascinating explorations. Over these years the ancient city has invited thousands of visitors towards it and has been declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Location: Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai 64000, Thailand
Nearby Attractions: Sukhothai Old City, Wat Mahathat, Wat Traphang Ngoen, Wat Sra Si, Wat Sorasak, Ramkhamhaeng National park, Sukhothai Historical Park, Loy Krathong Festival.
Timings: 06:00 – 18:00 daily
- For foreigners – 100 Baht; for Thais – 20 Baht
- Extra charges are there for the vehicle including bicycles – 10 Baht
6. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
This is the most popular tourist attraction alluring Southeast Asia. Featuring the extravagant capitals of Khmer Empire these ruins span over an area of 150 square miles. These structures are known to be constructed during the 9th and 15th century. The Banyan Temple remains to be a major attraction here.
There are communication-routes, dating back to centuries, ancient urban plans, water reservoirs imply great planning skills of the civilizations that had prevailed here. This is probably the one that cannot be missed.
Location: Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Nearby Attractions: Angkor Archaeological Park, Cowboy Tuk Tuk, About Siem Reap Cycling, Cambodia Trail, Darith Touch.
Timings: The visiting hours are from 5:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
Entry Charges: Single-day ticket charge is $37, a three- day pass from $62; while a seven-day pass price is $72.
7. Dwarka, India
The recognition of the ruins of this city pulled down the opinion of it being just a mythological perception. The place had been described to be possessing striking features in Indian myth tales. It was claimed that there were about 70,000 palaces composed of gold silver and other precious metals.
These ruins situated 131 feet beneath the surface of the sea, perfectly meet the underwater city fantasy. These ruins are so incredible geometrically, that experts involved in researches had been left stunned.
Location: Dwarka Darshan, Vegetable Market, Dwarka, Gujarat, 361335, India
Nearby Attractions: Dwarka Beach, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Dwarkadhish Temple, Beyt Beach.
Timings: All days of the week, 6:30 AM – 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Entry Charges: Free
8. Mesa Verde, Colorado, The USA
There are over 600 cliff dwellings in the Mesa Verde National Park which were once known to be inhabited by Anasazi people. These groups are regarded to reside here from the seventh to fourteenth century AD. There’s the famous cliff palace composed mainly of sandstone, mortar, and wood.
Overhanging the cliffs here, this palace was once accessed through a ladder and was known to house about 100 people.
Nearby Attractions: Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Galloping Goose Historical Society, Anasazi Heritage Center.
Timings: The good thing is Mesa Verde is always open, but opportunities may differ from season to season.
- January 2 – April 30, 2019 and November 1 – December 31, 2019 – $15.00
- May 1 – October 31, 2019 – Fee: $25.00
- Details: the entrance fee is good to Mesa Verde National Park for up to 7 days.
Park Entrance fee for Motorcycles –
- January 2 – April 30, 2019 and November 1 – December 31, 2019 – Fee: $10.00
- May 1 – October 31, 2019 – Fee: $20.00
Park Entrance fee for Each Bicyclist and Individual on Non-Commercial Buses –
- January 2 – April 30, 2019, and November 1 – December 31, 2019 – Fee: $7.00 per person
- May 1 – October 31, 2019 – $12.00 per person
9. Thebes, Egypt
Egypt had been famous for ruins and among all spectacular lost cities that have been found some belong to this place. Thebes was known to be the Egyptian capital during 2040 to 1070 BC, dedicated to the supreme sun god Amon.
There are splendorous attractions to witness here including the Temple of Luxor, Temple of Ramesses II and the Karnak Complex. Also, the Tomb of Tutankhamen is a great attraction here. Moreover, the place houses the greatest architectural achievements the world could have ever had.
Location: Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
Nearby Attractions: Valley of the Kings, Tomb of Tutankhamun, Valley of the Queens, The Temple of Horus at Edfu, Nefertiti, Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Temple Abydos, Giza Necropolis, The Great Pyramid of Giza.
Entry Charges: NA
10. Tikal, Guatemala
Tikal lost cities remain to be the jewel on the crown in Guatemala and boast perhaps the greatest Maya city-states.
The six magnificent temples here are known to dominate the landscape just as they would have done when the place breathed life.
Above the rainforest canopy the bustling, illuminated ceremonies were known to be held in the splendid surroundings here. Though the size of the city is now swallowed up by the jungle, the way it is set will surely amaze you.
Location: Probably been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala.
Nearby Attractions: Tikal National Park, Great Plaza, Lost World, Tikal Museum / Museo Sylvanus G. Morley.
Timings: Open daily for visits from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
- For Adults (foreigners) – 150 GTQ (about $20 USD).
- Children under 12 – Free Entry
- If you want to witness the sunrise and enter the park before 6:00 AM, the entrance fee is 250 GTQ.
- Also, tickets purchased are also valid for the next day after 3:00 PM.
11. Mohenjo Daro, Sindh, Pakistan
This is one of the long-lost cities discovered in 1922. Excavations in Mohenjo Daro reveal the fact of it being the largest city of the Indus Valley civilization.
This ancient city boasts the world’s earliest urban settlements. Marvelous planning and well-organized structures composed of fire burnt bricks make the city really splendid.
The Great Bath is the most important structure unearthed here.
Location: Mohen-Jo-Daro Rd, Larkana, Pakistan
12. Caral, Peru
Before the discoveries of sites like Bandurria in Peru, Caral had been regarded to be one of the oldest urban settlements in the Americas. However, there were no weapons, no battlements or no mutilated bodies found from the excavation sites here.
This lost city is therefore believed to be one of a gentle society involved in music, commerce, and pleasure.
Location: Acceso Caral, Caral 15161, Peru
Nearby Attractions: Reserva Nacional Lomas de Lachay, Ciudadela de Caral, Bandurria, El Aspero, Zona Arqueologica Caral, Plaza del Sol Huacho.
Timings: Open every day from 9 am–4 pm
- For Adults (Peruvian and foreign visitors) – S/. 11.00
- Senior citizens (65 years and over) and children (under 5) – S/. 1.00
- School children (with school I.D. card) – S/. 1.00
- University professors and students (with university I.D. card) – S/. 1.00
- The fee of a guide (groups of up to 20 people) – S/. 4.00
A group of 20 people costs around – S/. 20.00
13 Vijaynagar, Karnataka, India
The excavated city of Vijayanagar in Hampi is known to date back to 300 BC and was known to exist with the same name. This city has also got a mention in the epic Ramayana as Kishkinda which was a realm of monkey gods.
In 1500 AD Vijayanagar was regarded to hold a population that was twice the population of Paris and makes its place among the most popular lost cities list. The spectacular Virupaksha Temple is also found here.
Nearby Attractions: Brain Museum, Crazy Park, Mahua Art Gallery, Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Ragigudda Sri Prasanna Anjaneyaswamy Temple, ISKCON Bangalore, Sri-Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Temple.
Timings: Every Day from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Best Time To Visit: From November to February
- For Foreigners – Rs 500/-
- For Indian – Rs 30/-
14. Persepolis, Iran
This magnificent ancient city was founded in 518 BC by Darius I. It may have taken over a century to build the entire city.
As you enter the huge All Nation’s gate, a large terrace faces you. Also, every portion of this creation is designed well with intricate carvings portraying king, officials, representatives, and slaves. One can get a perfect highlight of the Persian Empire at that time.
Nearby Attractions: Uppersia, Eram Garden (Baq e Eram), Mrpersepolis, Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Shah-e-Cheragh Shrine, Vakil Bazaar.
Timings: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Entry Charges: Entrance charges for most of the sights: US$4
15. Ephesus, Turkey
Ephesus was known to be a port city situated on the River Cayster. During the Classical era, this was known to be the largest Mediterranean City. Attractions here include the Temple of Artemis, which is an ancient world wonder.
Also, the library of Celsus which later served as his tomb is also a great element to consider here. All these are testaments of the senator’s wealth that they had once held.
Location: Atatürk Mh., Uğur Mumcu Sevgi Yolu, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
Nearby Attractions: Ephesus, Ephesus Museum, Basilica of St. John, Temple of Artemis, Meryemana, Bibliotheque de Celsus, Ayasuluk Fortress, Isa Bey Mosque (Isa Bey Camii), Roman Aqueduct, State Agora.
Timings: Open every day from 8:30 am–6:30 pm
Entry Charges: 9 euro per person (60 Turkish Lira)*
16. Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India
Sanchi is counted among the most popular historical destinations in India. Erected during the reign of Emperor Ashoka, here are spectacular structures including the Ashoka pillar and Stupas built in the Greco-Buddhist styles.
Dating back to 300 BC this city was rediscovered in the 19th century this is own of the most considerable lost cities in India.
Location: Sanchi Town in Raisen District in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Nearby Attractions: Sanchi Museum, Udaygiri Caves.
Timings: All days of the week from 6:30 AM – 6:30 PM
- 30 per person for Indians
- 500 per person for foreign tourists
17. Calakmul, Mexico
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This Maya archeological site was known to be the seat of the Snake Kingdom. It was where the Kaan Dynasty was relocated. Calakmul means, City of the two adjacent Pyramids.
There were two small pyramids and hundreds of very small other structures. Dating back to the seventh century, this city is now surrounded by lush jungles.
Location: Campeche, Mexico
Nearby Attractions: Reserva de la Biosfera de Calakmul, Becan Ruins, Museo de Naturaleza y Arqueologia de Calakmul, Zona Arqueologica Rio Bec, Chicana Mayan Ruins, La Raiz del Futuro.
Timings: Open every day from 8 am–5 pm
Entry Charges: For two people the cost is under 10 USD/130 pesos.
18. Skara Brae, Scotland
Known popularly as the Scottish Pompeii, Skara Brae is a settlement older than the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge. This is a stone-built Neolithic settlement situated on an island in Orkney archipelago in Scotland. This was discovered during severe storms from 1850 to mid-1920s.
These lost cities of the ancients will let you have a perfect historical and archeological exploration with a lot of fascination and great experiences. So plan your visits well!
Location: Sandwick, Stromness KW16 3LR, UK
Nearby Attractions: Skaill House, Scapa Flow, Yesnaby Cliffs, Orkney Brewery, Ness of Brodgar, Barony Mill, Scapa Scuba, Brough Of Birsay, Ring of Brodgar.
- From 1 April to 30 September (Skara Brae and Skaill House):
- Daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm
- Last entry 4.45pm
Timings of evening trip are available in July and August.
- 1 October to 31 March (Skara Brae only):
- Daily, 10 am to 4 pm
- Last entry 3.15pm
- Monument may get close for lunch.
- For Member/Explorer Pass holder: FREE
- Adult: £7.00
- Concession: £5.60
- Child aged 5-15: £4.20
- Child under 5: FREE
- Children under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
- Concession price: If you show the proof that you’re 60 plus or unemployed then this price is applicable.