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7 Amazing World’s Lost Cities That Have Never Been Discovered

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Throughout history, explorers, adventurers, and archaeologists have spent their whole lives seeking for long-forgotten locations, mythical towns, and hidden treasures.

Since our youth, we have been exposed to several mythological tales. However, some believe that each mythical story has a grain of truth. We have heard of numerous fabled lost cities that live in legends and imaginations but have never been discovered in reality. As in El Dorado’s gold city or Atlantis’s sunken strong city.

However, there are several lesser-known tales of vanished civilizations from throughout human history. These ancient forgotten towns may or may not exist, but the search for them will never be complete.

Throughout history, explorers, adventurers, and archaeologists have spent their whole lives seeking for long-forgotten locations, mythical towns, and hidden treasures. While some of these trips were successful, others were disastrous. And when it comes to renowned cities, the border between legend and reality is razor thin. The following are some legendary cities that may still be unearthed by an intrepid archaeologist.

Atlantis

The legendary island of Atlantis, first referenced in writing by the Greek philosopher Plato in 360 BC, has captivated the imaginations of explorers and historians for more than two millennia.

The island was claimed to be vast and home to a mighty monarchy equipped with cutting-edge technology and an unbeatable navy. Around 9,600 BC, the entire land was destroyed and sunk into the sea by what Plato described as “one horrible night of fire and earthquakes.”

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While numerous expeditions have attempted to locate Atlantis’ buried location and disprove its existence as a myth, all have failed. The most recent, and perhaps most promising, was led by Simcha Jacobovici, a Canadian-Israeli journalist and investigative archaeologist who has produced multiple films on Jerusalem.

Collaborating with film director James Cameron, the only man to perform a solo dive into the Mariana Trench, Jacobovici and his colleagues scoured the sea floor for traces of ruins using hints from Plato’s writings and technological technology. The most striking discovery was six bronze-age stone anchors uncovered off the coast of Spain in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Camelot

Camelot is a palace and court associated with King Arthur of legend. Camelot first appeared in 12th-century French tales and, following the Lancelot-Grail cycle, came to be depicted as Arthur’s magical metropolis and a symbol of the Arthurian universe.

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The stories put it somewhere in the United Kingdom and occasionally correlate it with actual cities, though its specific location is rarely given. According to the majority of experts, it is purely imaginary, its unclear topography ideal for chivalric romance writers. Nonetheless, debates over the site of the “actual Camelot” date all the way back to the 15th century and continue to boil in popular literature and for tourism purposes today.

Z’s vanishing city

Since Europeans first landed in the New World, legends of a legendary jungle city of gold, often called El Dorado, have persisted. Francisco de Orellana, a Spanish Conquistador, was the first to journey up the Rio Negro in pursuit of this fabled city. In 1925, at the age of 58, explorer Percy Fawcett set out into the Brazilian woods in search of a fabled hidden metropolis dubbed “Z.” He and his team would depart without a trace, and the tale would become one of the day’s most significant news stories. Despite numerous rescue attempts, Fawcett was never located.

In 1906, Fawcett was invited by the Royal Geographical Society, a British organization that conducts scientific expeditions, to explore a section of the Brazilian-Bolivian frontier. He spent 18 months in the Mato Grosso region, and it was during these expeditions that Fawcett developed an obsession with the idea of lost civilizations in this region.

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Fawcett discovered Manuscript 512 in the National Library of Rio de Janeiro in 1920. It was published in 1753 by a Portuguese explorer who claimed to have discovered a walled city reminiscent of ancient Greece deep in the Amazon rainforest’s Mato Grosso region. The text portrayed a long-forgotten, silver-laden metropolis with multi-story buildings, soaring stone arches, and broad streets leading down to a lake where the explorer saw two white Indians on canoes. This was dubbed the Lost City of Z by Fawcett.

In 1921, Fawcett embarked on the first of numerous excursions to locate the Lost City of Z, but his party was constantly thwarted by the jungle’s rigors, dangerous creatures, and epidemic diseases. Percy’s desperate search for Z resulted in his untimely demise. In April 1925, he made one more attempt to locate Z, this time with the assistance of newspapers and organisations such as the Royal Geographic Society and the Rockefellers.

Fawcett wrote to his wife Nina in his final letter home, which was returned via a team member, and declared, “We hope to get through this region in a few days…. You need not be afraid of failure.” It was to be the last time anyone heard from them.

Aztecs’ legendary homeland

The Aztecs of Mexico established one of the most formidable empires in pre-Columbian America. While much is known about their empire, which was located in what is now Mexico City, little is known about the Aztec culture’s origins. Many believe that the vanished island of Aztlan was the ancient homeland where the Aztec civilization began to develop prior to their migration to the Valley of Mexico.

According to some, it is a fabled land akin to Atlantis or Camelot that will live on in legend but will never be discovered in actual form. Others believe it is a genuine physical site that will be located eventually. Searches for Aztlan have taken place from Western Mexico to the Utah deserts in the hope of discovering the legendary island. These searches, however, have been futile, as the location – and the existence – of Aztlan remain unknown.

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Aztlan’s culture is based on legend. According to Nahuatl folklore, Chicomoztoc – “the location of the seven caverns” – was formerly home to seven tribes. These tribes were composed of members of the seven Nahua groups: Acolhua, Chalca, Mexica, Tepaneca, Tlahuica, Tlaxcalan, and Xochimilca (different sources provide variations on the names of the seven groups). The seven clans, who shared a common language heritage, exited their individual caverns and formed a single entity near Aztlan.

Aztlan translates as “the land to the north; the land from where we, the Aztecs, originated.” It is supposed that the inhabitants of Aztlan eventually became known as the Aztecs, who later migrated to the Valley of Mexico. The migration of the Aztecs from Aztlan to Tenochtitlán is a pivotal event in Aztec history. It began on May 24, 1064, the first solar year of the Aztecs.

To this day, the island of Aztlan’s existence has not been confirmed. Many have sought the region in the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of the Aztecs’ origins and, maybe, of ancient Mexican history. As with other lost towns, it is unknown whether Aztlan will ever be discovered.

Lyonesse’s Kingdom

Lyonesse is the home land of Tristan in Arthurian legend, as shown in the classic story of Tristan and Iseult. Lyonesse’s mythological land is now known as the “Lost Land of Lyonesse,” as it is claimed to have sunk into the sea. However, the legend of Tristan and Iseult demonstrates that Lyonesse is recognized for more than sinking into the sea, and that it maintained a legendary presence above ground.

While Lyonesse is primarily associated with legends and myths, others believe it depicts a very real city that sank into the sea many years ago. With such a renowned place, determining the line between legend and fact can be challenging.

According to tradition, the kingdom of Lyonesse was a peninsula in the British Isles of Scilly that was devoured by the sea in a single day. According to others, the litany of 140 islands that exist there today are only the hilltops of a long-forgotten drowned world.

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The earliest written mention of a lost kingdom off the coast of Cornwall is found in 14th-century William of Worcester’s “Itinerary.” According to the author, before the flood, an unidentified stretch of land extending six miles from the sea existed. “Woods and farms and 140 parochial churches between the Mount and the Isles of Scilly, all now underwater,” he wrote.

While Lyonesse is mentioned in numerous literature, it is most known as the home of the hero Tristan in Arthurian legend. Indeed, the disaster is said to have occurred in the sixth century, under the reign of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

While no great underwater civilisation has been uncovered, geologists believe the region has been submerged extensively for the last 3,000 years. It is likely that traditions of vanished civilizations that experienced the brunt of these transformations inspired the Lyonesse legends that still captivate the imagination today.

El Descuento

For hundreds of years, treasure seekers and historians have sought to locate El Dorado, the fabled hidden city of riches. The concept of a city drenched in gold and other treasures has a natural allure, attracting people from all over the world in the hope of uncovering the ultimate treasure and an ancient marvel. Despite countless excursions throughout Latin America, the city of gold continues to be a tale, with no concrete proof to support its existence.
El Dorado derives from Muisca legends. The Muisca tribe occupied Colombia’s Cundinamarca and Boyacá regions following two migrations – one in 1270 BC and another between 800 and 500 BC. According to mythology, as detailed in Juan Rodriguez Freyle’s “El Carnero,” the Muisca performed a ritual for each newly anointed king that included gold dust and other valuable artifacts.

When a new leader was appointed, certain ceremonies were performed prior to him assuming the title of king. The new king would be transported to Lake Guatavita for one of these rituals, where he would be stripped nude and covered in gold dust. He would be transported on a lavishly adorned raft, accompanied by his attendants and piles of wealth and valuable stones. The raft would then be taken to the lake’s center, where the monarch would wash away the gold dust from his body while his servants tossed the gold and precious stones into the lake.

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This ritual was performed in order to make a sacrifice to the Muisca’s god. To the Muisca, “El Dorado” did not refer to a location; rather, it referred to the king at the center of this rite, also known as “the Gilded One.” While El Dorado was originally used to allude to the Gilded One, the name has come to symbolize the lost city of gold and any other location where one might easily acquire fortune.

Lázaro Fonte and Hernán Perez de Quesada, Conquistadores, sought to drain Lake Guatavita in 1545. They discovered gold along the lake’s banks, confirming their suspicions that the lake housed a treasure trove of wealth. They worked for three months, with laborers constructing a bucket chain, but were unable to properly drain the lake to access any hidden valuables. In 1580, Antonio de Seplveda, a commercial tycoon, launched another attempt to drain the lake. Once again, many shards of gold were discovered along the coasts, but the wealth hidden in the lake’s depths remained hidden.

Other searches on Lake Guatavita were unsuccessful, despite claims that the lake could hold up to $300 million in gold. All efforts were put on hold in 1965, when the Colombian government designated the lake a protected reserve. Even without the ability to search Lake Guatavita, the search for El Dorado continues. The Muisca tribe’s traditions of the Gilded One and their ritualistic treasure sacrifice have evolved into today’s narrative of El Dorado, the lost city of gold.

Kalahari

In 1885, Guillermo Farini (aka The Great Farini), a Canadian entertainer and adventurer, became one of the first foreigners to cross southern Africa’s undiscovered and hazardous Kalahari Desert. Upon his return, he displayed images and published an article about ruins he uncovered that appeared to be the remains of a long-forgotten civilization buried in the dunes.

“We tented near the foot of it, beside a broken wall of stone that resembled the Chinese Wall following an earthquake and which, upon examination, revealed the ruins of a quite extensive construction, in some places buried beneath the sand but plainly visible in others,” he wrote. “We traced the remains for over a mile; they were primarily a jumble of enormous stones, but all flat-sided, and with the cement perfectly visible between the layers.”

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Numerous expeditions were made throughout the twentieth century in search of Farini’s “Lost City of the Kalahari.” No less than 12 were done by the grandparents of South African entrepreneur Elon Musk, who one day hopes to assist humans in their exploration of Mars.

In January 2016, the series “Expedition Unknown” chronicled the search for the buried city by American host Josh Gates. They uncovered man-made ruins near an oasis located just within the Kalahari using aerial scans and radar, as well as Farini’s descriptions of the site. While confirmation has not been made, this location could indeed be the lost city referenced in Farini’s travels.

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