Top 10 CREEPIEST ABANDONED PLACES
No matter the case, no city on earth is entirely safe from disaster. Whether it’s natural or man-made, the worst can strike, forcing an entire civilization to abandon all it knows. These 10 cities were victim of such fates, left behind due to famine, war, or time. Here are ten ghostly relics, cities completely deserted and left to return back to Mother Nature.
The city of Babylon is likely the most famous lost city of the ancient world. Located in the Mesopotamian, the ruins of Babylon can be found in what is now Iraq. Babylon is featured predominantly in the Bible, with notable mention in the Books of Genesis and Revelation, though it doesn’t get the best connotation in either. Who founded the city is up for debate, though it is believed Sargon the Great, who claimed to have built temples at the city’s grounds, was also Babylon’s founder. Babylon thrived under the rule of King Hammurabi, and after his death, things started to look grim. Babylon saw many invaders, including the Hittites, Kassites, Assyrians, and, finally, the Persians, under whom the city rapidly declined. By 141 BC, Babylon was a deserted kingdom, left to be overtaken by the sand it was built upon.
The ruins of the Roman city of Pompeii reside near the city of Naples and were once the home of around 11,000 people. The city prospered after its founding around the late 6th century BC by the Oscans, before being dominated by Rome in 4th century BC. Like everything Rome seemed to touch, though, the city was not destined for great things. Though its collapse didn’t come at the hands of the great Empire’s own faults, Pompeii was still wiped off the map. In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the town in up to 20 feet or 6 meters of ash and pumice, turning Pompeii into an uninhabitable wasteland. The eruption decimated the city, killing its inhabitants and forcing any survivors to abandon all they held dear. Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre rediscovered the lost city of Pompeii in 1748.
After the loss of Elvis Presley, the city of Memphis, Tennessee may have considered itself lost, but we are actually referring to the Egyptian city that lost more than just an overweight singer with a penchant for peanut butter, bacon, and bananas. Memphis was the capital of ancient Egypt located 15 miles south of where Cairo sits today. In this great city resides some of ancient Egypt’s greatest structures, and also plays host to some very notable rulers, including, Kings Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. Memphis stood strong for many years but started to decay during the rise of Christianity. During the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640 CE, the city was abandoned, its remains used to build up neighboring villages. Luckily for history buffs, enough of the city remained to allow for it to be turned into an open-air museum that is open to the public.
If you were to sink the city of Las Vegas, you would be looking at the American equivalent of the Roman city of Baia. The once classical Roman city of entertainment and recreation now provides a playground for scuba divers and schools of fish to muck around in. Home to medicinal hot springs, a domed casino, and beautiful swimming pools, Baia attracted greats like Cicero and Caesar before being sacked by Saracens. With the city abandoned, the same vents that provided the great relaxing spas also were cause for Baia’s submersion. In its heyday, Baia was a mecca of entertainment. Today, it provides a unique experience for underwater adventurers.
Beyond the great scare of December 2012, what do you know about the ancient Mayans? It’s time you learned a thing or two about one of histories more interesting ancient civilizations, and at the lost city of Palenque. This 7th century city found in southern Mexico was abandoned in the 8th century, left to fend for itself against Mother Nature. The grand structures are imposing and intricate, giving a fine indication as to how advanced the Mayans really were. Despite being the home to many great Mayan leaders, Palenque was mostly abandoned during the 800’s AD, though there was a very sparse population at the time of the 1520 arrival of the Spanish. Much of the city had been lost to the nearby jungles over time. Though it is believed that about 10% of the city has been uncovered, that leaves 90% of the city of Palenque still stuck within nature’s grasp.
This region in Cambodia was once the site of the Khmer Empire. In 800 AD, King Jayavarman II announced his independence from Kambujadesa. During the period of 1113 and 1150 AD, King Suryavarman II oversaw the building of the great Angkor Wat, a temple that was to be used as the ruler’s mausoleum. The great temple stands as the most impressive structure left in Angkor and, as an even greater feat, the largest religious monument in the world. The fall of Angkor is believed to been the product of an Ayutthaya invasion, the conversion of Cambodia to Theravada Buddhism, or even the spread of a plague or a series of earthquakes. Though the site is a popular tourist attraction today, there are concerns that the site will be unable to sustain the amount of tourists it receives, meaning that in just a matter of time, this impressive lost city will be turned to rubble.
One visiting the ancient city of Petra will find themselves faced with massive structures that seem too impossible to have been built around that time period. It is unfortunate that the city itself is completely abandoned, though it was the site of many hollywood films, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Mummy Returns, and the unforgettable Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Located in southern Jordan, Petra was the capital city of the Nabataeans and stands today as Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction. From 312 BCE to 106 AD, the city of Petra thrived until its absorption into the Roman Empire, when its decline started to show. In 363 and 551, two earthquakes crippled the city, leading to its total abandonment in 663 when the Arabs conquered what little remained.
Hidden deep in the jungles of the Peten Basin region, observant travelers will catch a glimpse of a great civilization that once roamed the lands of the Yucatan. The city of Calakmul was a major Mayan city marked by glyphs of snakes, earning it the title the Kingdom of the Snake or Snake Kingdom. Calakmul can be dated all the way back to the Preclassic era, though the extent of its history comes in during the Early Classic period, when the city found itself in a feud with the neighboring city of Tikal. During the Late Classic era, Calakmul was at odds with Palenque, leading to a war over trade routes that nearly sacked the neighboring Mayan city. It is not entirely clear as to when or why Calakmul collapsed, but it is believed to be around the early 9th century. The city stands today, enshrouded in greenery that threatens to completely overtake the once great Mayan city.
The Chernobyl disaster left behind a lasting impression, mostly in the sense that it cleared out an entire city and turned it into a nuclear wasteland. In our Top 10: Most Radioactive Places Caused by Man video, we discussed the destruction itself, but what was left behind is almost just as fascinating. The city was once home to a population of over 14,000, but today, the fallen city is home to radioactivity and a brave select few that work with the State Agency of Ukraine on the Exclusion Zone Management. Chernobyl may see some activity, but due to regulations and fear of leaving with an extra limb, the area remains fairly stale and incredibly haunting.