[[quoteright:340:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/John_Martin_PaintingSmallCropped_8957.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:340:[[BoltOfDivineRetribution God]] doing some urban renewal.]]

A city or civilization that is destroyed after growing so [[WeHaveBecomeComplacent complacent]], [[LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair hubris-laden]], and/or [[WretchedHive corrupt]] that it is [[ItIsBeyondSaving beyond redemption]]. Usually the agent of destruction is [[BoltOfDivineRetribution divine retribution]] or [[TheScourgeOfGod a scourge of God]] but also can be the result of [[CallItKarma karmic justice]], [[GaiasVengeance nature's revenge]], [[KnightTemplar Knights Templar]], or even [[HanlonsRazor human]] [[FinaglesLaw error]].

Often, the Soiled City was once a ShiningCity or {{Utopia}} but, [[HumansAreBastards humans being who they are]], it fell victim to arrogance and [[SevenDeadlySins moral degeneration]]. In fact, before destruction, the Soiled City can still look like a ShiningCity even though by then [[CrapsaccharineWorld it's really nothing more than a whited sepulcher with a shiny gleaming exterior concealing the rot and vileness within]].

Almost always a WretchedHive. Can also be a CityNoir. The opposite or (as mentioned previously) the corrupted version of the ShiningCity. This trope often overlaps with LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair and is used as AnAesop. The ShadowLand of {{Arcadia}} and the GhibliHills; many a FarmBoy who went expecting the Shining City was lucky to escape with his life, if at all.

[[TheGreatFlood Water]] is a common means of the Soiled City's destruction.

The name refers to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_on_a_hill the City on a Hill]], an early symbol of American {{Utopia}}.

Compare with AfterTheEnd, CataclysmBackstory, AndManGrewProud and {{Gotterdammerung}}.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* As bad as Heavenside from DoktorSleepless is, most people consider it an ironic name, but it was actually a contrast to [[IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace Hellside]] the even worse city on the other side of the mountain where "everyone died."
* [[{{Nightwing}} Blüdhaven]] was wiped out when [[InfiniteCrisis the Society]] dropped Chemo on the center of the city.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/BatmanBegins'', there's [[KnightTemplar the League of Shadows]] which is an ancient secret organization that takes upon itself to destroy societies and cities that, according to their standards, have become too corrupt and decadent. ("The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome. Loaded trade ships with plague rats. Burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence, we return to restore the balance.") Next on their list: Gotham City. [[spoiler:And then they show up again years later, trying to do the same thing, under the command of Ra's al-Ghul's daughter in ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises''.]]
* No Name City in the film version of ''Film/PaintYourWagon''.
* Coruscant in the StarWars prequels shows signs of this, as does the Old Republic generally. At least, according to the Empire's propaganda. To be fair, the fact that they could and circumstances surrounding their willingly voting in the empire and its new and oppressive system does, ironically, illustrate it nicely.
* Texas City, CA in ''Film/BreakerBreaker''. An abandoned mining town re-incorporated by what the film, at first, seemed to hint was a band of traveling gypsies (but later just turned them in to 70's-style corrupt hicks), and funded by bootlegging and hijacking 18-wheelers. Gets destroyed in the end by a band of vengeful truckers responding to a distress call on behalf of the film's hero, [[ChuckNorris JD]].
* In the film ''Film/KungFuHustle'' by Steven Chow, Chow plays a petty thief-lockpicker named Sing initiate of a vicious triad named the "Hatchet Gang". Sing intialy tries to intimidate the tenants of a Slum tennament block nick named the "Pig sty alley". Little did Sing know, that most of the residents are skilled martial artists including the landlady and her husband. Who don't take kindly to Sing or his gangster friends. They culminate into an epic battle in which much of the apartment block is destroyed through super natural means.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numenor#History Númenor]] in Creator/JRRTolkien's ''TheSilmarillion''. After Sauron is taken captive by the Númenóreans, he converts them to Melkor worship and tricks them into sailing to Valinor and violating the Ban on setting foot there. As a result, the Valar call upon Eru Ilúvatar and he destroys Númenor with a giant wave, sinking it beneath the sea.
* AndreNorton's "Operation Time Search". In our real world, Atlantis fell under the control of evil rulers and was destroyed. The actions of the hero prevent this, and as a result history is changed and Atlantis survives to the present day.
* The city of Brussels, Belgium, appears this way in retrospect to Marlow in ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness''.
* The Emerald City in ''Literature/{{Wicked}}''.
* The Emerald City has shades of this even in ''Literature/TheWizardOfOz.'' It's downplayed, sure, because Dorothy doesn't perceive any real unhappiness or corruption in its people, but the ruler is a two-bit humbug phony playing the whole city for fools. And the lovely "emerald" color of the city? Just colored glasses that everyone is required, by law, to wear.
** Like everything else in Oz, the depiction is even worse in ''[[Literature/{{Wicked}} Wicked]].'' Booze-soaked nightclubs, whores on every corner, chamberpot contents in the street, the Unionist church's {{KnightTemplar}}s running unchecked, and a brute posing as a wizard cheerfully exploiting all of it to keep in power.
* The Thran Empire, particularly the city of Halcyon, that served as {{Precursors}} to the main setting for MagicTheGathering is shown to be one of these in its titular novel, ''The Thran.'' Even before Yawgmoth started pulling their strings, they practiced FantasticRacism against the goblins and other species, were much more concerned with aesthetic beauty than people's safety or comfort, created a massive undercity of caves where all the undesirables (both criminals and people who merely disagreed with the way of doing things) and had a superstitious understanding of disease (which they believed was caused by evil spirits....granted that was sometimes true in Dominaria, just not most of the time. [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt After Yawgmoth...]]
* Charn from ''TheMagiciansNephew'', the {{prequel}} to ''TheChroniclesOfNarnia''. The civilization (and ''the entire universe in which it existed'') was destroyed by the Empress Jadis, who killed every single living organism just because she couldn't be queen. She kept herself preserved as SealedEvilInACan until two kids from another universe freed her from her slumber (they had been tempted by the SchmuckBait-laden mechanism used to awaken her). Then she hitched a ride with the kids back to their universe, and eventually to Narnia, where she became known as [[spoiler:the White Witch.]]
* Danu Talis, better known as Atlantis, from ''TheSecretsOfTheImmortalNicholasFlamel.''
* The city of Shadukiam in ''Literature/TheOrphansTales''. In "The Book of the Sea" we learn about how its rich inhabitants care about nothing but aesthetics and money, devouring ridiculous delicacies made of jewels and forcing their [[FantasticGhetto species minorities to live in ghettos.]] In "The Book of the Storm," we learn of how the city met its terrible end, lost its anchoring in the world, and became the hollow nightmare city of [[spoiler: Marrow.]]
* New Babylon, by virtue of destiny, becomes this in the Literature/LeftBehind books.
* Magrast in ''Literature/ChroniclesOfMagravandias''. The city is pretty much the concentrated corruption of the entire Magravandian empire, and the palace in particularly bad.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Religion And Mythology ]]
* In Literature/TheBible, there's, of course, Sodom and Gomorrah. The destruction of these cities is the subject of the 1852 painting by John Martin that's the image for this page.
** The world before TheGreatFlood qualifies.
** Even Jerusalem itself. God's chosen people on Earth started off well but became so corrupt and decadent that [[TheScourgeOfGod God let the Babylonians and other civilizations conquer them]] to snap them back into what they needed to be doing.
** Speaking of which, Babylon is another biblical example.
** Also, in [[Literature/BookOfRevelation the Book of Revelation]], the world gets a lot more rotten before [[ApocalypseWow it's destroyed during the end time.]]
* In the {{Mahabharata}}, the city of Dwaraka (a.k.a., Dvārakā) sinks into the ocean after becoming corrupt.
* {{Atlantis}} became one of these before it sank into the sea.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ys The sunken city of Ys]] in French folklore and CelticMythology. It was built below sea level and surrounded by a dike with a gate that was opened to allow access for ships during low tide. Ys was destroyed by being sunk under the waves as punishment for the [[AristocratsAreEvil Princess]] [[RoyalBrat Dahut-Ahès's]] and the other inhabitants' debauchery. (Although, in one version of the legend, Ys sank as a result of the Princess Dahut-Ahès [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy getting drunk]] [[WhatAnIdiot and opening the gate at high tide during a storm]].)
* The medieval city of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vineta Vineta]] was, according to legend, a rich and powerful port on the Baltic Sea located near the present-day border of Germany and Poland. The sinfulness of its inhabitants led [[BoltOfDivineRetribution God to destroy it with thunderbolts]] and sink it underneath a storm tide.
* In Literature/TheBookOfMormon, the city Ammonihah is destroyed by [[TheScourgeOfGod an army of the Lamanites]] after they rejected the words of the prophet and killed those that did believe. They were pretty sure God couldn't destroy their great city in a day as prophecied if they didn't repent.
** More broadly, the Nephite and Jaredite nations near the end of them. They did pretty deplorable things at the end.
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[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''{{Greyhawk}}'' setting of ''DungeonsAndDragons'', the Suel Imperium was the capitol of the Suloise a nation ruled by evil sorcerers thousands of years ago, which was eventually obliterated by the Invoked Devastation which caused the cataclysm called the Rain of Colorless Fire, reducing the Suel Imperium and the whole countryside to a hostile wasteland called the Sea of Dust. Very little is known about the nature of this disaster, but some believe the Suel did it to themselves by accident trying to [[EvilIsNotAToy do something]] ''[[EvilIsNotAToy very]]'' [[EvilIsNotAToy evil]].
* The ancient Eldar of Warhammer 40,000 both embody and subvert this trope. Their glittering, technologically dazzling civilization once dominated the galaxy, but their descent into jaded excess and hedonism led directly to the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh and their near-obliteration during the Fall. The heartlands of the civilization are now the warp-tainted hellholes known as the Crone Worlds, swallowed up by the Eye of Terror that the Fall ripped into the fabric of realspace. However, the one part of pre-fall Eldar civilization that survived and prospered was the dark city of Comorragh - the Eldar's worst den of vice, iniquity and depravity. It survived because it was safely concealed from prying eyes in a pocket universe between the dimensions, and is now the home base for the Dark Eldar, who continue to celebrate and indulge in the kind of vileness that brought their civilization low in the first place.
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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* The eponymous city of KurtWeill's and Creator/BertoltBrecht's opera, ''Theatre/TheRiseAndFallOfTheCityOfMahagonny''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarII'', [[spoiler: the entire human civilization of the Algo system is dependent on Mother Brain. This leads to complacency, and the world is unable to handle it when she starts going bonkers on them.]]
* The Kingdom of Zeal in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''.
* Kirkwall from VideoGame/DragonAgeII, best summed up by Varric;
--> '''Varric''': Kirkwall, "The City of Chains". Long ago it was part of [[TheEmpire the Imperium]], slaves coming from far and wide to work the quarries. Now it's a Free City... but I use the word ''loosely''
* ''Pathologic'' features a Soiled City in a Steppe. Depending on the ending you end up with, this trope is more or less relevant.
* In ''VideoGame/HectorBadgeOfCarnage'', the villain's plan is to use a HatePlague on the residents of Clapper's Wreake so that they kill each other, wiping the slate clean and allowing him to create a better city.
* Rapture in ''Franchise/BioShock'' was by all appearances a highly successful attempt to create an [[{{Objectivism}} objectivist]] haven where the [[TheSparkOfGenius brightest]] and [[SelfMadeMan boldest]] of humanity could thrive [[TheUnfettered unfettered]] from the WretchedHive- at least until the [[DidntThinkThisThrough people who moved to the bottom of the ocean to do whatever they wanted]] turned on each other. The city has been torn apart by a war between Ryan and Atlas, and the only ones left are [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke insane splicers]] only interested in finding more ADAM, and a few remaining individuals [[SoleSurvivingScientist trying to undo what was done]], [[CrazySurvivalist too crazy to leave]], [[TheStarscream trying to take over the ruins]] or holed up in private sanctums [[TheyCalledMeMad doing things even Rapture's]] [[SerialKiller loose laws frowned upon]] in private playgrounds or just [[DancingInTheRuins enjoying the show]].
** Interestingly, Bioshock 2 seems to imply that the vast majority of the city actually survived as a functional society for as long as several years after the events of the first game. Most of Rapture [[ScrewTheWarWerePartying simply didn't give a damn]], being largely populated by ApatheticCitizens only caring about their own interests and keeping the BreadAndCircuses going. Some even [[WarForFunAndProfit find their fortune selling]] [[MechaMooks security systems]] and personal bodyguards to deal with the splicer problem spilling over from the nasty business in [[TheCityNarrows THAT part of Rapture]] and catering to [[GlamorousWartimeSinger those seeking distraction]].
** Columbia from ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite''. Sure it's a beautiful city. Sure it has beautiful parks, gorgeous architecture, and the honour system in use at shops. But there's a price to that pretty. And it is ugly.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'': In the decades preceding the game, the Pitt, formerly the industrial giant Pittsburgh, was a lawless PollutedWasteland inhabited by rape gangs, raiders, slavers, and various horrific mutants. Upon discovering the city, Lyons' chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel initiated the Scourge, which wiped out most of the population except for a few unmutated children who were placed into initiate training, one of which was Paladin Kodiak. After being left for dead in an explosion and rescued by scavengers, [[TinTyrant Paladin Ashur]] became the leader of the city.
* Nipton from ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' was populated by gamblers, thieves and prostitutes, until the Legion laid waste to the town and executed or enslaved the residents.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* Ba Sing Se, capital of the Earth Kingdom, was once the greatest city in the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' world. But over time, thanks to EvilChancellor Long Feng and his SecretPolice, it has degenerated into an Orwellian dystopia where {{brainwashing}} abounds, poor people are kept in segregated neighborhoods, and people are forbidden to even mention the war that's been raging outside the city for a hundred years. And just when Long Feng was arrested and things were starting to look up, [[spoiler:Princess Azula of the Fire Nation infiltrated Ba Sing Se, got the SecretPolice on her side, and finally captured the city and the entire Earth Kingdom.]] \\\
Unusually for this trope, though, [[spoiler:Ba Sing Se was never actually destroyed. At the end of the series, it was retaken by the Earth Kingdom, and the SecretPolice were presumably disbanded or reformed. The final scene in the series has [[HeartwarmingMoments the heroes relaxing in Iroh's tea shop in the city, while Aang and Katara kiss outside]].]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'': Republic City is worse, the city is filled with mafia benders, and ran by bureaucrats who aren't doing much with the unequal treatment of non-benders. Finally things erupted to war, when the Equalist terrorist took over the city in a full scale attack.
* TheEmpire of Thundera in ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}} ThunderCats (2011)]]''. The [[{{Catfolk}} Cats]] of Thundera are a ProudWarriorRace who believe themselves a SuperiorSpecies, and practice UrbanSegregation, FantasticRacism and enslavement of species like [[LizardFolk Lizards]] and [[{{Dogfaces}} Dogs]]. They employ a FantasticCasteSystem, where tailed Cats and Specific minorities live in a FantasticGhetto that exists below the upper level's ShiningCity, BrightCastle and gardens of the nobility. The city is [[EasilyConqueredWorld conquered]] overnight by Mumm-Ra and his [[LesCollaborateurs collaborators]] the Lizard army and {{Plunder}}ed of all its valuables while surviving Cats hide in the wilderness or are taken as slaves.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* On the Arabian Peninsula, there was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iram_of_the_Pillars Iram of the Pillars]]--the "Atlantis of the Sands". In Islamic legend, Iram of the Pillars (also known as Ubar) was a city of untold riches that was buried under the desert sands as punishment for defying God. Long thought to be a myth, satellite photos and recent archeological excavations have indicated such a city probably existed until around 300 AD--about 300 years before the birth of TheProphetMuhammad, i.e. long enough for it to become the stuff of legend.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rungholt Rungholt]] was a thriving German merchant city on the North Sea coast until it was destroyed by a storm tide in 1362. Legend attributed its destruction to the rampant greed of its citizens and acts of sacrilege against God.
* The low-lying Dutch city of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saeftinghe Saeftinghe]] was a prosperous trading center from the 14th to the 16th century until much of the land surrounding it was lost to a disasterous flood in 1570. The city itself was abandoned in 1584 when, during the Dutch War for Independence, Dutch soldiers were forced to destroy the dike that protected Saeftinghe resulting in its sinking into the marshy bogs of the Schelde River. In [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saeftinghe_legend Dutch folklore]], Saeftinghe was an ornately rich but avaricious city that ultimately paid for its greed by sinking into the salty marshlands after being cursed by a merman for refusing to set his captured mermaid wife free.
* Port Royal was an open haven for pirates and smugglers during the 17th century with economy largely based around boozing, whoring, and stealing. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692 that caused it to sink into the sea.
** Perhaps most impressive is the multiple tsunami waves that also hit the city in its destruction. For years scientists thought the accounts of multiple great waves hitting the city must be an exaggeration, until geological surveys of the area showed it was indeed possible for a tsunami to enter the harbor, hit one side, rebound, hit the other side, rebound and repeat.
* TsaristRussia as a whole. What accelerated its fall was the too much income inequality and injustice. TheNewRussia in the nineties was approaching the late-Imperial level of decadence and injustice amazingly fast.
* The incredibly deadly and destructive Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 represents a real-life inversion of this trope. After the quake shook the city for five minutes, most of the population took refuge on the waterfront where, 40 minutes later, a tsunami hit. In the aftermath, virtually everything that hadn't collapsed or gotten flooded was destroyed by fire. Because the city ''wasn't'' much of a WretchedHive and the quake struck on All Saints' Day, it lead to a lot of philosophical exploration of theodicy, i.e., why do bad things happen in a world governed by a good deity? Most of the Enlightenment's great thinkers were influenced by the Lisbon Earthquake, with Kant and Voltaire writing works that discussed it directly.
* Saint-Pierre, Martinique, the "Paris of the Caribbean", was destroyed twice, first by a hurricane in 1780, then more completely by a volcanic eruption in 1902.
[[/folder]]
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