Rumored location: Lake Svetloyar, central Russia
The legend: Atlantis, basically, but in Russia. A gorgeous city founded by the Grand Prince of Vladimir, Georgy II, in the 13th century. A tribe of marauding Mongols -- the Golden Horde -- eventually discovered it, and got ready to do some pillaging, as you do. The city wasn’t even fortified because the citizens were so pious they thought God would be their bodyguard. Soon those citizens started praying. They prayed so good water started spewing out of the earth. The Mongols sat and watched as the flood swallowed the entire city, and the last thing to submerge was a cross atop the cathedral’s golden dome. Even today, people say that if you listen closely you can hear the church bells chiming.
Rumored location: Middle East, possibly the Et-Tell archeological site in West Bank, Palestine
The legend: According to the Book of Joshua, the Israelites -- with God’s backing -- razed this city, killing 12,000 women and children, and, eventually, the entire Canaanite people. Ai had been a royal city, a holy sanctuary founded by Abraham. Since at least the mid-19th century, scholars have believed that the Palestinian archeological site Et-Tell is, in fact, the lost city of Ai. Its name is actually the Arabic word for “ruin.” But if this is true, it messes up the Biblical chronology, suggesting the city was abandoned long before the Israelites came on the scene, which might describe it’s peculiar name.