Lost Cities of the Ancient World - Seeker's Thoughts

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Seeker's Thoughts

A blog for the curious and the creative.

Lost Cities of the Ancient World

From Atlantis to Petra, this article introduces ancient cities that were submerged by seawater or lost for millennia before eventually being found again years or centuries later. Learn why they were abandoned before discovering some were later rediscovered again years or centuries later.

Separated into general time periods spanning Neolithic cities of Catalhoyuk and Skara Brae to Roman cities on both ends, each chapter can be read either from start to finish or piecemeal.


Atlantis has long been a subject of fascination among philosophers and writers, including Plato. In his dialogues Timaeus and Critias, Plato described an advanced and mysterious civilization called Atlantis that mysteriously disappeared during one night and day under mysterious circumstances in its waters. While many take his story at face value as factual history, it should be understood as moral fable with several inaccuracies added in to make an interesting narrative fable; furthermore he took great liberties with details by either adding, subtracting or misinterpreting some information provided to him by others in his narrative.

Atlantis is described in the text as being larger than Libya and Asia combined, situated beyond the Pillars of Hercules (usually assumed to mean Gibraltar), in the Atlantic ocean. This fits with its story of being an influential maritime power with a navy that reached as far as Africa and Europe; also boasting sophisticated government structures, constitutions, as well as people known to be moral, virtuous and ethical - until their greed, petty behaviour and corruption eventually led to their demise.

Atlantis' destruction can be partially attributed to an immense tsunami that was said to have devastated its entirety in one day and night - similar to what many religions refer to as the biblical Flood.

Of the many historians that believe Atlantis to be fictional, some still make the argument that it could have existed as an actual place. One such location could be Akrotiri on Santorini; its eruption often recalls Plato's tale. An alternative theory holds that Atlantis was actually composed of memories about multiple drowned cities with similar color schemes as Akrotiri as well as pumice from volcano eruptions sinking to the bottom of the sea forming parts of it.

Scholars have advanced theories suggesting Atlantis could have been an even warmer version of Antarctica. It is thought that Earth's crust shifted some 12,000 years ago, shifting Antarctica away from where we see it now to be more frigid; with Atlantis likely emerging warmer. Plato wrote of Atlantis being similar in climate to his descriptions - however this theory remains very unproven and its influence is evident throughout literature, film and video game series like Indiana Jones or Assassin's Creed game series - keeping generations entertained and inspired! The mystery of Atlantis will probably never fully unravel; instead its incredible history will remain an inspiration source throughout their lives for years!

El Dorado

El Dorado is the mythical all-gold city or empire believed to be somewhere in Latin America, enchanting adventurers and treasure hunters for centuries and inspiring several movies and novels such as John Wayne's classic 1959 film of its discovery. Expeditions have taken place to search for evidence that El Dorado exists; researchers have spent countless years trying to confirm its existence.

El Dorado dates back to the Spanish conquest of South America during the 16th century. When various chroniclers arrived, they told tales about this golden kingdom whose location they claimed could only be found here; Juan Rodriguez Freyle wrote the most popular account in 1636 CE.

He reported that the Muisca people, who had immigrated into Colombia through two separate migrations, held a ritual involving selecting and bathing a new king with gold dust before jumping into Lake Guatavita to be cleansed before taking his place in his kingdom. This story then formed the basis of El Dorado legend that spread throughout New World cultures.

As Muisca were known to create beautiful objects out of gold and offer them up in sacrifice to their gods at their sacred lake, European explorers found it easy to believe they lived in an actual city made entirely out of precious metals. While this legend proved false, it helped promote the idea that Latin America may hold vast treasures yet to be discovered.

Adventurers and treasure hunters of that era were inspired by this narrative to search throughout Latin America for El Dorado; today, their quest has expanded even further across Latin American nations and even further beyond.

Although El Dorado remains unknown, several theories exist as to where it could have been located. One popular theory involves Brazil's Amazon Basin which boasts natural resources like trees and minerals that could have been used in building this lost city. There have also been reports of gold mining activity within this region leading many people to speculate as well as speculate as to its existence.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat's impressive temple is not simply an architectural marvel--it provides a window into ancient cultures like Khmer. The Khmer empire included schools, monasteries and a central bureaucracy responsible for collecting taxes and disseminating wealth; an extensive network of canals helped feed their populace even during drought conditions; in addition, Angkor had some of the most advanced urban planning practices of any ancient civilization, featuring massive reservoirs housing deities as well as temples to house elite members of society like Khmer.

Temples were constructed on a flat landscape of sandstone, with the central tower representing Mount Meru - the mythical home of the gods - as its central tower symbolises. With fluted spires and unique layout, it creates an eye-catching visual in contrast with the surrounding jungle, while in morning sunlight its golden glow makes an impressive sight to behold.

As you explore Angkor Wat, it becomes evident why it is the crowning achievement in Cambodian architecture. The intricate carvings depict tales from Hindu mythology as well as historical events during Khmer empire rule; one famous bas-relief depicts Vishnu tricking demons into surrendering amrita elixir for eternal life.

Archaeological discoveries have helped researchers gain greater insight into life during the Khmer empire despite many temples being in ruins. One notable reservoir called West Baray served to store water during dry months for irrigation purposes and population growth. Other discoveries included series of stone pillars displaying social classes hierarchy as well as massive canal systems designed to help sustain resources in their empire.

Archaeologists have been studying Angkor for over 150 years, yet there is much still to discover. New laser technology makes mapping easier from above, revealing hidden roads and structures which would take decades of excavation on the ground. Archaeologists were taken aback when one discovery in particular struck a cord: an underground temple bearing the distinct shape of a sarcophagus tomb.

Angkor Wat's haunting beauty can't be reduced to fear or mystery; rather, its sadder side lingers after sunset when dusk sets. As dusk falls, it seems as if Angkor Wat were weeping over everything it has lost--an experience you won't soon forget when visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Siem Reap, Cambodia or visiting its official website for more details.

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