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Lost cities facts for kids

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Lost City Ruins
Ruins of Ciudad Perdida, a city built by the Tayrona in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia

A lost city is a city that was normal once but, for some reason, became not lived in any more and forgotten about. Many of these cities are called ghost towns.

Lost cities by continent


  • Akhetaten, Egypt – Capital during the reign of 18th Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten. Later abandoned and almost totally destroyed. Modern day el Amarna.
  • Canopus, Egypt – on the now-dry Canopic branch of the Nile, east of Alexandria.
  • Itjtawy, Egypt – Capital during the 12th Dynasty. Exact location still unknown, but it is believed to lie near the modern town of el-Lisht.
  • Tanis, Egypt – Capital during the 21st and 22nd Dynasties, in the Delta region.
  • Memphis, Egypt – Administrative capital of ancient Egypt. Little remains.
  • Avaris, capital city of the Hyksos in the Nile Delta.
  • Leptis Magna – Roman city in present day Libya. It was the birthplace of Emperor Septimius Severus, who lavished an extensive public works programme on the city, including diverting the course of a nearby river. The river later returned to its original course, burying much of the city in silt and sand.
  • Dougga, Tunisia – Roman city in present day Tunisia.
  • Carthage – Initially a Phoenician city, destroyed and then rebuilt by Rome. Later served as the capital of the Vandal Kingdom of North Africa, before being destroyed by the Arabs after its capture in AD 697.
  • Great Zimbabwe
  • Aoudaghost – Wealthy Berber city in medieval Ghana, sacked by mujahideen, location unknown.
  • Timgad - Roman city founded by the emperor Trajan around 100 AD, covered by the sand at 7th Century.


Far East Asia

Southeast Asia

  • Sukhothai
  • Ayutthaya
  • Angkor and surroundings.

South Asia

Central Asia

Western Asia/Middle East

South America

Inca cities


North America

Mexico and Central America

Maya cities

incomplete list – for further information, see Maya civilization

  • Chichen Itza – This ancient place of pilgrimage is still the most visitied Maya ruin.
  • Copán – In modern Honduras.
  • Calakmul – One of two "superpowers" in the classic Maya period.
  • Coba
  • Naachtun – Rediscovered in 1922, it remains one of the most remote and least visited Maya sites. It is 44 km (27 miles) south-southeast of Calakmul, and 65 km (40 miles) north of Tikal, it is believed to have had strategic importance to, and been vulnerable to military attacks by, both neighbours. Its ancient name was identified in the mid-1990s as Masuul.
  • Palenque — in the Mexican state of Chiapas, known for its beautiful art and architecture
  • Tikal — One of two "superpowers" in the classic Maya period.
Olmec cities

United States



  • Aztlán- the ancient home of the aztecs
  • Izapa – Chief city of the Izapa civilization, whose territory extended from the Gulf Coast across to the Pacific Coast of Chiapas, in present day Mexico, and Guatemala.
  • Teotihuacan – Pre-Aztec Mexico.


  • Akrotiri – On the island of Thera, Greece.
  • Atil, Tmutarakan, Sarai Berke – Capitals of the steppe peoples.
  • Attila's Fortified Camp, Romania – Probably the great ruins at Saden (Zsadany, Jadani, now Cornesti -jud. Timis) from or to which the Hun tribe Sadagariem took or gave their name.
  • Avars'Khan Fortified Camp, Romania - Probably the re-occupied city of Attila at Saden (Zsadany, Jadani, now Cornesti -jud. Timis).
  • Birka, Sweden
  • Biskupin, Poland
  • Calleva Atrebatum,Silchester,England,UK - Large Romano-British walled city 10 miles south of present day Reading.Just the walls remain and a street pattern can be discerned from the air.
  • Chryse Island in the Aegean, reputed site of an ancient temple still visible on the sea floor.
  • Damasia – Sank into the Ammersee, Germany.
  • Dunwich, England, United Kingdom – Lost to coastal erosion.
  • Hedeby, Germany
  • Helike, Greece on the Peloponese – Sunk by an earthquake in the 4th century BC and rediscovered in the 1990s.
  • Kaupang - In Viksfjord near Larvik, Norway. Largest trading city around the Oslo Fjord during the viking age. As sea levels retreated (the shoreline is 7m lower today than in 1000) the city was no longer accessible from the ocean and was abandoned.
  • Kitezh, Russia - Legendary underwater city which supposedly may be seen in good weather.
  • Niedam near Rungholt
  • Ny Varberg, Sweden
  • Old Sarum, England, United Kingdom – the people moved to nearby Salisbury although the owners of the archaeological site retained the right to elect a Member of Parliament to represent Old Sarum until the Nineteenth Century (see William Pitt abandoned).
  • Paestum - Greek and Roman city south of Naples, abandoned after attacks by Muslim pirates. Three famous Greek temples.
  • Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy - buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD and rediscovered in the 18th century
  • Roxburgh, Scotland - abandoned in the 15th century
  • Rungholt – Sunken in the Wadden Sea, Germany.
  • Saeftinghe, Netherlands - prosperous city lost to the sea in 1584.
  • Selsey, England, United Kingdom - mostly abandoned to coastal erosion after 1043.
  • Skara Brae, Scotland, United Kingdom - Neolithic settlement buried under sediment. Uncovered by a Winter storm in 1850.
  • Sybaris, Italy - Ancient Greek colonial city of unsurpassed wealth utterly destroyed by its archrival Crotona in 510 BCE.
  • Tartessos, Spain
  • Teljä, Finland
  • Trellech, Wales, United Kingdom.
  • Uppåkra, Sweden
  • Vineta – Legendary city somewhere at the Baltic coast of Germany or Poland.
  • Winchelsea, East Sussex,UK Old Winchelsea,Important Channel port,pop 4000+,abandoned after 1287 inundation and coastal erosion. Modern Winchelsea, 2 miles inland, was built to replace it as a planned town by Edward I
  • Ys - Legendary city on the western coast of France.

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ciudad desaparecida para niños

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