A great flood destroyed the whole city somewhere around 1700 BCE. Its residents used to worship idols, had their own festivals and exquisite architecture. The explorers even found jewellery and toys.
It had a Silk Road with beautifully constructed temples having precious ornaments in them. In 2 ACE, the city was destroyed by a Roman emperor named Aurelian and most of the inhabitants had converted to Christianity before converting to Islam in 4 ACE. The most recent destruction of the Syrian city has been caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.
The capital of the Nabateans and a key trading centre for silk and spices that linked Asia with Arabia and the West, Petra fell into decline under Roman rule in the fourth century AD and wasn’t rediscovered until 1812. Its tombs – especially The Treasury (of Indiana Jones fame) and The Monastery – are spellbinding, all the more so as they were carved into the rock face itself.
One of the world’s greatest sights, the Angkor complex encompasses various capitals of the Khmer Empire that flourished from the ninth to fifteenth centuries AD. It stretches over 400 square kilometres, though the highlight is the incomparable Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple with fir-cone towers, stylised sculptures of human faces and carved reliefs of Hindu myths.
It was established as the stronghold of a rogue king over 1,500 years ago, and today the Sigiriya complex stands as one of the earliest preserved examples of ancient urban planning. Ultimately the rock was unable to save its king, but it succeeded in preserving ancient Sinhalese culture.