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Lost city of Alexander the Great found 2,000 years later

Alexander the Great's 'lost city' was a magical place where people drank wine and naked philosophers imparted wisdom, ancient accounts claim.

Now, nearly 2,000 years after the great warrior's death, archaeologists believe this illusive city may have finally been discovered in Iraq.

Experts first noticed apparently ancient remains in the Iraqi settlement, known as Qalatga Darband after looking at declassified American spy footage from the 1960s.

The images were made public in 1996 but, due to political instability, archaeologists were not able to explore the site properly for years. 

Using more recent drone footage, experts have now established there was a city during the first and second centuries BC which had strong Greek and Roman influences.

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Experts first noticed apparently ancient remains in the Iraqi settlement, known as Qalatga Darband (pictured) after looking at declassified American spy footage from the 1960s

Experts first noticed apparently ancient remains in the Iraqi settlement, known as Qalatga Darband (pictured) after looking at declassified American spy footage from the 1960s

WHO WAS ALEXANDER THE GREAT?

Alexander the Great is arguably one of history's most successful military commanders.

Undefeated in battle, he had carved out a vast empire stretching from Macedonia and Greece in Europe, to Persia, Egypt and even parts of northern India by the time of his death aged 32.

Only five barely intact accounts of his death at Babylon in 323 BCE survive to the present day.

None are from eyewitnesses and all conflict to varying degrees.

According to one account from the Roman era, Alexander died leaving his kingdom 'to the strongest' or 'most worthy' of his generals.

In another version, he died speechless in a coma, without making any plans for succession. 

It is believed Alexander, arguably one of history's most successful military commanders, settled in the city with 3,000 veterans of his campaigns.  

Undefeated in battle, he had carved out a vast empire stretching from Macedonia and Greece in Europe, to Persia, Egypt and even parts of northern India by the time of his death aged 32.

Experts believe Qalatga Darband - which roughly translates from Kurdish as ‘castle of the mountain pass’ - is on the route Alexander of Macedon took to attack Darius III of Persia in 331 BC and could be this illusive lost place which was such an important meeting point between East and West. 

It is six miles (10km) south-east of Rania in Sulaimaniya province in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Archaeologists at the British Museum first explored the site using drone footage. 

They then sent a team of Iraqis there as a way to train them to save historic places that had been destroyed by Islamic State.

'We got coverage of all the site using the drone in the spring — analysing crop marks hasn't been done at all in Mesopotamian archaeology', lead archaeologist John MacGinnis told The Times.

'It's early days, but we think it would have been a bustling city on a road from Iraq to Iran. You can imagine people supplying wine to soldiers passing through', he said. 

An abundance of terracotta roof tiles and Greek and Roman statues suggests the city, which now has a thriving wine trade, could have been created by Alexander.

They found two key statues - one a female figure believed to be Persephone, the Greek goddess of vegetation, and the other is believed to be Adonis, a symbol of fertility.

Experts believe Qalatga Darband (pictured)- which translates from Kurdish as ‘castle of the mountain pass’ - is on the route Alexander the Great took to attack Darius III of Persia in 331 BC

An abundance of terracotta roof tiles and Greek and Roman statues suggests the city, which now has a thriving wine trade, could have been created by Alexander. Pictured is a statue of a nude male

Using more recent drone footage, experts have now established there was a city during the first and second centuries BC which had strong Greek and Roman influences. Pictured is the Coin of Orodes II

An abundance of terracotta roof tiles and Greek and Roman statues suggests the city, which now has a thriving wine trade, could have been created by Alexander. Statue of a nude male (left) which could possibly be Adonis and a Coin of Orodes II (right)

WHAT DID THEY DO?

There were rumours there

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