The big cities that came back after being almost destroyed – 24/7 Wall St.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact around the world. In the United States, New York City, where nearly one in eight deaths from the virus has occurred in the United States, has been among the worst-hit cities. There are reports of residents fleeing New York who are convinced the pandemic, along with civil unrest and the high cost of living, make the city unlivable. New York has seen adversity before – the HIV / AIDS epidemic, Storm Sandy and of course September 11 – and it is one of the most resilient cities in the world.

As the future of New York City, along with other places, is tested by the pandemic, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of major cities that have returned from tragedy. We have compiled our list by reviewing various sources such as,, and exercised editorial discretion in creating the list.

Click here to see the major cities that have returned from a tragedy

Some of the cities on our list date back around 2,500 years, and while they don’t necessarily have the same stature as they once did, they have managed to remain relevant in modern times. These cities have managed to avoid the fate of cities such as Pompeii, Carthage, Ephesus, Angkor, Palenque, and Petra, all of which disappeared hundreds of years ago. They, along with these 23 countries, no longer exist.

Many other cities persevered, overcoming wars, epidemics, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and terrorist attacks. The destruction caused by events such as the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43 and the San Francisco earthquake in 1906 raised the question at the time as to whether these cities should be rebuilt. In both cases, they chose to do so. Tragic episodes such as the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the cholera epidemic in Paris in 1832 served to create overdue improvements in buildings and public health that put cities on the path to modernity.


To find major cities that have returned from tragedy, 24/7 Tempo looked at various sources such as,,, and exercised editorial discretion to compile the list. We’re not trying to make a complete list of cities that have bounced back from adversity. We chose these cities because they are the best known examples of disaster resilience. We took into account but did not include New Orleans as it is still struggling to weather the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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