of Lost Cities
far beneath our feet
lie the ruins of fabulous
ancient cities, just waiting
to be discovered and join
the amazing examples
already unearthed. The
story of these discoveries
can be just as intriguing
as the history of the cities
OUR FASCINATION WITH THE PAST is evident from the plethora of books and television
programmes that bring history to life. The Atlas of Lost Cities: Legendary
Cities Rediscovered, by Brenda Rosen, looks not only at well-known sites
such as Pompeii and Persepolis but also at lesser known historical marvels.
One of the reasons for the obsession with the dead cities of the past
is that the history of their decline offers a stark warning to our increasingly
urbanized existence. But some of them are so incredible that to visit them is
to savour some of the magnificence of a past age and marvel at the skills and
artistry of times gone by.
What about delightful Mahabalipuram, with its cave-temples, chariot shrines,
sculpted bas-reliefs and structural temples built between the 7th and 9th Centuries?
Pilgrims and tourists flock to it especially to the famous Arjuna's Penance,
a huge bas-relief carved from two rocks, with majestic life-sized elephants
among the carvings. It is believed
to tell the story of the Mahabharata in which Arjuna does penance to gain the
god Shiva's power through a weapon.
The Atlas of Lost Cities explores some of the most extraordinary ancient
cities from around the world that have been abandoned, forgotten or simply hidden
by time. Stunning photographs of major archaeological sites bring to life recently
discovered cities such as Pompeii and Palenque in Mexico. Detailed reconstructions
help examine the latest theories of the catastrophic collapse of cities like
Tikal in Guatemala and Mesa Verde in Colorado. By examining the role of natural
disasters, fierce rulers and hostile neighbours we can see the rise, fall and
rediscovery of vanished cities.
One remarkable ancient city lies under snow for half the year Nemrud
Dagi, set atop one of the highest peaks in the Anti-Taurus Mountains of South
East Turkey, is a sanctuary built by King
Antiochus I of Commagene in the mid-1st Century BCE.
The Atlas of Lost Cities allows us to discover the intriguing ruins of
ancient monuments and structures by tracing their ancient beauty
and forgotten significance. Exhaustively researched artwork and reconstructions
show the cities as they would have appeared at the height of their power.
The sacred city of Aphrodite Aphrodisias was once the site of
the pre-eminent temple to the Greek goddess of love in Asia Minor.
And Bodhgaya, in the north Indian province of Bihar, is filled with many temples
and monuments that commemorate events in the spiritual biography of the Buddha.
In Ethiopia is the holy city of Aksum, the chief city of a kingdom that flourished
in the Ethiopian highlands near the Red Sea from around
1-700 CE. The people of Aksum were descended from an indigenous people who spoke
Kush and a Semitic people from southern Arabia. Aksumites erected impressive
monoliths and practised a unique form
of Christianity. Aksum's church of St Mary of Zion and The Treasury, which is
believed to be where the Ark of The Covenant is kept, are major destinations
There are some really fabulous images, including glorious ancient ruins and
there is also a fascinating 20th Century painting by Ilya Glazunov that depicts
the drowned city of Kitezh, Russia. Legend has it that the city was hidden in
Lake Svetloyar to protect it from Mongol invaders.
This book uncovers the secrets of forgotten civilizations with topics ranging
from Cities of the Sea, Cities of the Desert and Plains, Cities of Hills and
Mountains, Cities of Kings to Queens and Emperors and Sacred Cities. The
Atlas of Lost Cities considers what today's urban dwellers can learn from
the fall of once great cities with the most up-to-date research and photography
of recently discovered archaeological sites.
The Atlas of Lost Cities: Legendary Cities
Rediscovered by Brenda Rosen is a wonderful reference book to have on your
bookshelf. It was published by Godsfield Press on 29 February (2008) in hardback
at an RRP of £18.99.
About the Author A full-time author and editor, Brenda Rosen is
a student of mythic traditions and ancient cultures. She is the author of a
number of titles on mythological and spiritual themes, including Mermaid
Wisdom (Godsfield) and Crystal Basics (Hamlyn). She lives in Chicago,