Legendary Lost Cities Discovered by Modern Scientists

It is not known whether it will ever be possible to find Atlantis, gone into the ocean depths, the golden streets of Eldorado and the coveted mountains of Shangri-La. After all, it is likely that these places are just a myth. But there are such ancient cities and sights that were really lost in the mists of time, and today they have been found.

1. Helike / Greece

Atlantis was not the only mythical Greek city to sink under water. The city of Helike faced the same fate. According to Greek myths, Helike was destroyed by the angry god Poseidon after the locals expelled the Ionian tribe, who worshiped the deity of the sea, from the city. In a rage, Poseidon plunged the entire city under water in one night.

Helike was destroyed in 373 BC and has been considered a legend for centuries. And yet they found him. In the late 1980s, two archaeologists began searching for Helike, which took them more than ten years of work. It turned out that over the centuries the mythical city was buried underground, and destroyed by an earthquake, as a result of which the city collapsed into a giant mudflow.

2. Dvaraka / India

For Hindus, Dvaraka (or Dwarka) is a sacred city. It was the ancient home of Krishna who lived on Earth 5000 years ago. Dvaraka was allegedly built by divine architects for Krishna's individual order, who demanded a city of crystals, silver and emeralds. He also demanded that 16, 108 palaces be made in the city for his 16, 108 queens.

Ultimately, the city was destroyed in a titanic battle between Krishna and King Salva, who destroyed it with explosions of energy. This all sounds like a common myth, but when archaeologists began to study the sea where Dvaraka was supposed to be, they did find the ruins of the city that fit the description. It did not have 16, 108 silver palaces, but it was a large ancient city with a clear layout.

There is reason to believe that the real Dvaraka may have been built 9, 000 years ago, that is, it is one of the oldest cities on Earth. At one time, it was one of the busiest seaports in the world. Then, in the second millennium BC, he plunged into the depths of the sea.

3. Great Zimbabwe / Zimbabwe

In the early 16th century, Portuguese explorers began to report hearing legends about a huge castle in Africa. In what is now known as Zimbabwe, the natives claimed, there was a stone fortress that towered over the trees. The locals called it "Simbao", and even they did not know who built it.

One of the researchers wrote: “It is not known when and by whom these buildings were created, since people at that time did not know about writing, but they say that this is the work of the devil, because with their capabilities and knowledge, they do not imagine that it was work person. " For centuries, Europeans thought Simbao was just a superstitious story. Then, in the 19th century, they actually found this massive castle with stone walls over 11 meters high.

The castle was made in 900 AD. African civilization that disappeared centuries ago. Inside the fortress, relics from all over the world were found, probably collected through trade with other countries. For example, Arab coins, Persian pottery, and even relics from the Chinese Ming dynasty have been found.

4. Xanadu / China

Marco Polo returned from China with incredible descriptions of Kublai Khan's empire. The most incredible thing he saw was Xanadu - the palace of the great khan. According to Marco Polo, it was a marble palace surrounded by a huge park 26 kilometers wide, filled with fountains, rivers and wildlife. Allegedly, the khan kept 10, 000 white horses on the territory of Xanadu in a golden palace guarded by dragons.

The palace was destroyed by the Ming army in 1369, long before most Europeans had a chance to see it. Over the centuries, it became a common legend that poets wrote about. However, when archaeologists discovered the remains of Kublai Khan's palace, it turned out that Marco Polo was not exaggerating.

The Khan's home was twice the size of the White House, and was surrounded by a massive park that appears to have once been a menagerie of wildlife from around the world. Each part has corrals for horses, and what's more - there are even dragons described by Marco Polo. These are statues mounted on pillars.

5. Sigiriya / Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka in the 5th century AD, King Kassapa built his palace on top of a cliff 200 meters high. According to legend, it was one of the most incredible castles in the world. To enter, one had to climb a large staircase that passed through the mouth of a huge lion made of brick and plaster.

But Kassapa did not live long in his castle. Shortly after the construction of Sigiriya, it was attacked by the brother of King Mogallan. Kassapa's army left him, frightened for their lives, and the wives jumped off the cliff, crashing to death. Sigiriya was conquered and left as a monument to the narcissistic king.

Some time later, the castle was turned into a Buddhist monastery, and soon it was forgotten. When European archaeologists began investigating this story, they found out that the castle really existed, like a large lion guarding the stairs, through whose mouth you had to pass to get inside. UNESCO declared Sigiriya the eighth wonder of the world.

6. Leptis Magna / Libya

A large Roman city in Libya, which was once a major trading center for the empire, was completely bombarded by a sandstorm. The city is called Leptis Magna and it was the birthplace of the Roman emperor Septimus Severus. He turned it into a gigantic city and one of the most important parts of his empire, but when Rome fell, Leptis Magna also fell along with the great empire.

It was plundered by raiders, destroyed by Arab invaders, left in ruins and completely forgotten, and eventually buried under the drifting sands. Leptis Magna was under the sand dunes for about 1200 years, until archaeologists found it in the 19th century. It turned out that under the sand the city was perfectly preserved.

7. Vinland / Newfoundland

In 1073 A.D. e. a German clergyman named Adam of Bremen appealed to the Danish king Sven Estridson. He said that the Vikings swam across the Atlantic Ocean and found a distant land where plants grew without the slightest care. The cleric named this land Vinland because "vineyards grow there by themselves."

When the Vikings got there, they had to fight the local natives, whom they called Skrylingers. These people, they said, were dressed in white robes and lived in caves. Vinland was considered a Viking myth for centuries, even after the Spanish reached America. It was only in the 1960s that it became clear that this was true. On the Canadian edge of Newfoundland, archaeologists have discovered the remains of a Viking settlement dating back to the 11th century.

8. Heraklion / Egypt

Heraklion is mentioned in almost every Greek myth. This was the city from where Hercules first went to Africa. This was the place where Paris and Helen hid from Menelas before the Trojan War. And the scientists had no idea where this city was located.

As it turned out, there was a reason no one could find one of the most important ports in Egypt: it was under water. About 2, 200 years ago, Heraklion was probably hit by an earthquake or tsunami and then sank. Divers sailing off the coast of Egypt came across it in the early 2000s.

9. La Ciudad Perdida / Colombia

About 1, 300 years ago, an ancient people called Tayrona built an incredible city on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It was created on top of the mountains, allegedly by order of their god, who wanted the tayrona to live close to the stars. People lived there for 700 - 800 years, until the Spanish conquistadors arrived. Although the invaders never made it to this city, the locals were wiped out by the diseases brought by the Europeans.

When the last people died in the city, it was forgotten for hundreds of years. Ciudad Perdida was only discovered in the 1970s when a group of bandits making their way through the jungle accidentally stumbled upon it. By sheer luck, they found an ancient, overgrown city full of gold ornaments and jade figures. The criminals took with them what they could, after which they sold the artifacts on the black market, which attracted the attention of archaeologists.

10. La Ciudad Blanca / Honduras

During his quest for gold, Hernán Cortez heard rumors that a city with untold treasures was hidden in the jungles of Honduras. It was called "White City" or "City of the Monkey God". Cortez never found Ciudad Blanca, but the legend survived. As a result, a group of archaeologists followed the path described by some of the craziest people who claimed to have found this place, and, to their surprise, scientists found the city in the jungle.

In the rainforest, a pyramid was found built by a culture that disappeared 1000 years ago. Inside it was a mass of stone sculptures and impressive architecture, which by the standards of neighboring peoples would be considered signs of incredible wealth and power. Some people doubt if this is really the city that Cortez wrote about, but in any case, it is evidence of a lost civilization.