In this installment of prominent ancient cities, you will learn of a system of canals and causeways that still impresses engineers of today; a city that thrived within the Andes Mountains; and the stories behind one of the most coveted ancient cities that caught the eye of leaders looking for a way to solidify their position within the world.
Tenochtitlan , The First Mexico City
If you take a look at legends of the past, as well as the historical ins and outs that have survived throughout time, Tenochtitlan is described as one of the former largest and most spectacular cities in all the world. It was this capital of the illustrious Aztec empire that would later become what we now know as Mexico City. In 1521, Spanish conquistadors happened upon the land and found 300,000 inhabitants in their midst. The city was actually built upon a lake, which followed in the direction of a significant Aztec deity. Ancient engineers then created a well-organized system consisting of canals and causeways to elevate their technological genius.
Cuzco , The Prosperous City in the Mountains
In the beginning, all the roads associated with the Incan empire led to Cuzco, which served as a prosperous capital city located in the Andes Mountains. This was traced back to the early 1400s until European explorers came into the picture in 1532. When Incan kings grew tired of big city life, they would travel to Machu Picchu , considered a summer retreat that was situated further into the surrounding mountains.
Those who study Cuzco are often drawn to the rich history of Incan art that has been left behind. Ceramic pieces and other pottery were considered quite the thing during the Incan ages, which highlighted the status of the capital. The pottery was handmade and typically decorated with polychrome slips (usually black and red in color). Today, you can see a wealth of Cuzco artifacts at the Pre-Columbian Art Museum and Museo Inka.
Over the years, researchers have uncovered more and more information about the historic capital that worshipped the sun. Ironically, it was discovered in 2006 that the city served as the location on Earth that showcased the highest levels of ultraviolet light.
The Coveted Ancient Gem of Babylon
Infamous hanging gardens are not the only thing that Babylon has gained a claim of fame for. This ancient Mesopotamian city underwent a riotous history that once stood where we find the present-day Iraq on the map. In history, we learn that this was a strategic location and that whomever gained possession of the land would enjoy a great advantage. This is why Babylon became such a gem for groups like the ancient Assyrians and even Alexander the Great.
Numerous rulers would enjoy the location as their capital, which would continue on for thousands of years. However, it is the creator of the gardens – King Nebuchadnezzar II , who would bring the city to a heightened sense of architecture that took place about 600 BC.