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5 intriguing lost cities you can visit today

Teotihuacan, lost cities on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Sun, sea, sand… snore! If you’ve grown tired of the same old beach holidays and you fancy doing something a little different on your holidays during 2012, unravelling ancient mysteries, exploring lost cities and walking in the footsteps of the long departed might be more up your alley. You might think that “lost” cities would be impossible to visit – after all, why would they be called lost cities if you could find them, right?

There are a number of cities dotted throughout the world that have been abandoned for so long that they had been thought to be lost forever, or hadn’t been known to have existed at all, earning them this misleading moniker. Although there are a number of these destinations that are inaccessible to the public, a few have been opened up to intrepid travellers curious to unlock the secrets of these enigmatic towns. You’ll find five below…

Machu Picchu, Peru

Lost cities - Machu Picchu, The Inca Trail on GlobalGrasshopper Photo

Built by the Inca people in 1400 AD, the breathtaking city is located 2400m above sea level on a mountain ridge above Urubamba Valley in Peru. It’s often called the “Lost City of the Incas” and its population was thought to have been wiped out when settlers carrying smallpox infected the city’s inhabitants. The site was made a World Heritage Site in 1983 owing to its cultural and architectural significance.

Derinkuyu, Turkey

Lost cities, Derinkuyu on GlobalGrasshopper.com

A city that has to be seen to be believed, Derinkuyu was built entirely underground and can house up to 50,000 people and their livestock. The city is thought to have been inhabited from 8BC to 900AD and reaches down 85m into the earth and has 11 floors. It’s thought that early Christians used Derinkuyu to hide out from Roman persecution in ancient Turkey.

Petra, Jordan

Lost cities, Petra on GlobalGrasshopper.com Photo

Carved out of the mountain walls, Petra was built as a fortress city by the Nabataean Arabs in 6th Century BC who abandoned it after earthquakes damaged their water supply. Petra lay undiscovered from its abandonment until it was discovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812. The site gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1985 and was described as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”.

Pompeii, Italy

Lost cities, Pompeii on GlobalGrasshopper.com  Photo

Undoubtedly one of the most famous lost cities in the world, Pompeii was destroyed in 79 AD by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which covered the city in ash. This ash has perfectly preserved many artefacts in the city and created ash-encased mummies of the fleeing citizens, freezing them in position mid-escape.

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Teotihuacan, lost cities on GlobalGrasshopper.com Photo

It’s not known who built or lived in Teotihuacan, but the city is home to some of the largest pyramids in America. It’s believed the city was abandoned by an internal uprising as burn marks are visible on the ruins of buildings thought to belong to the upper class, though this too remains a mystery.

Claire Lowell is a world travel addict with a taste for the bizarre, unheard of and unusual. 

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