10 Of The Richest Cities In History

History is littered with the rise and fall of ancient civilizations who used their influence and power to build upon their wealth and become great nations. They usually found wealth in natural resources, or by taking over neighboring nations. All great empires eventually fall, but not before they create the wealthiest cities on the planet.

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This list showcases these wealthy cities that managed to stand against the test of time. They were overflowing with unimaginable riches that put many of our cities today to shame. Keep reading to learn about ten of the richest cities in history!

10 Delhi

Delhi has a long history of wealthy rulers as it is one of the oldest cities on the planet. It has been built up and then destroyed several times, but the Legend of Mahabharata shares its claim of wealth. The city was founded by the Tomaras leadership and it saw the ascension of four different rulers before finally changing hands.

These leaders all chose to stay in Delhi and build it up time and time again, which is why this city has remained strong and wealthy through the ages despite its rocky history.

9 Rome

This was the capital city of the famous Roman Empire, so you know it had quite a bit of wealth in the pockets of its citizens. There were several classes of people with large gaps between them, but the wealthy had more money than most of us could fathom.

Augustus was one of the men who made Rome into a powerhouse in ancient times as he not only conquered several nations, but he encouraged the expansion of art and literature. The troves of gold were finally emptied under the guidance of Emperor Nero, but it still doesn't diminish the greatness that this city saw before its fall.

8 Cahokia

This city peaked between 1050 and 1200 A.D. and it was huge, especially when you consider the times. This was located in America near St. Louis and it was a very basic society that did not even have a writing system in place. They thrived due to the climate and fertile conditions of the soil, which allowed their crops to grow abundantly.

This large crop yield made them wealthy as this was the key to power in these times. It might not have been diamonds or gold as we view wealth today, but to them, food was everything and determined your standing as a city of power.

7 Constantinople

via History.com

This city is located in modern-day Turkey and is now known as Istanbul. It was established in the seventh century B.C. and thrived due to its location near connected waterways. It reached its peak when the Roman emperor, Constantine, decided that this was to be his new favorite city.

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It became a center of great wealth and Christianity, as well as a place where new forms of architecture took root. It managed to hold onto its power for 1,100 years under the direction of the Byzantine Empire as riches flowed through its gates and helped mix several different cultures together.

6 Tenochtitlan

via AncientPages.com

This was the city of the Aztecs and it was swimming in riches between 1321 and 1500 A.D. due to its intricate canal system. Hernán Cortés documented his thoughts on the city before he destroyed it and he described the vast marketplace where high volume trades and sales were made every single day.

He destroyed the city soon after he saw the riches that he could use to win himself glory and honor, but before this invasion, it was considered one of the wealthiest cities on the planet.

5 Athens

Athens, Greece was the epicenter of knowledge and wealth, as well as the crossroad of many trading routes in the ancient world. Their army may not have been as prominent as Sparta's, but their ability to trade and pursue knowledge opened doors that led to their rise to power.

It is said that the Parthenon held troves of silver coins, but their downfall came when plague ravaged the nation. This disease eventually took their beloved leader and left the country in turmoil.

4 Great Zimbabwe

This city separated the rich and poor with a wall of rock, and it is one city that is shrouded in mystery that has left several key questions left unanswered. It started as a simple farming community and eventually transformed into a city separated by classes of peasants and kings.

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New buildings were erected for the royal families, as well as the infamous wall, and it served as a major trade center for the region. They rose to fame in the 13th and 14th centuries, until their mysterious decline that still has yet to be explained.

3 Hangzhou

This city in China has had several dynasties pass through its streets, but it also has a history filled with riches. It all started with the Sui Dynasty when they connected a trade route between them and Beijing.

It changed hands two more times before becoming the official capital city of the Southern Song Dynasty. Industry was booming and it led to the creation of several temples that will take your breath away. This city continued to prosper and gain more and more wealth, especially when silk and weaving gained a foothold in the region.

2 Babylon

This city was part of the great Mesopotamia, which was located in a region south of today's Baghdad. During this period, it was the capital of Babylonia, but it didn't grow in wealth and power until it was granted independence from Assyria.

It began to flourish under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar II, as he took from other nations and used their wealth to build up his own. It may not have lasted as long as the wealth of some other cities, but it is still notable due to its quick rise to power.

1 Alexandria

Alexander the Great founded this city and declared it to be the capital city of Egypt. It quickly rose to power under his rule due to their ports on the Mediterranean Sea and several industrial ventures.

Its value increased drastically as trade was increased with the help of the Roman Empire, and it has continued to rise and fall throughout the ages. Nations understood the power it held with its position and sought to diminish it before it reached new heights with the help of its newfound wealth.

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