| he history of this alternate world is hinted at in various parts of the film: Laputa, in ancient times, once dominated the world in a hegemony, presumably of other aerial cities (suggested by a woodcut-like piece in the opening credits or scenes), and may have had a rotor on its bottom and other rotors on its side. Land may have also been attached to Laputa in antiquity; possibly in a different time period than the one in which rotors were attached. Laputa was abandoned 700 years before the setting of the film, having controlled the manufacture and mining of the "sky-crystal"; such an art having been abandoned by the film's beginning. The royal family and their subjects abandoned the city, leaving behind an electronic, high-technology core topped by a chamber or greenhouse. There grew a central tree, which proceeded to sink its roots deep into the city and spread its branches outside of the city's top roof, along with several layers or terraces of walls or buildings done in various architectural styles. It is shown to have had at least three terraces of walls topped with one of buildings; it may have had as many as five, as indicated in a tomb marker's seal. This abandonment of Laputa, according to Sheeta and/or Uncle Pom, may have been due to an alienation of the Laputans from the earth; a forgetting that they are intimately connected to the earth and an over-reliance on technology to solve problems.
The opening part of the woodcut-like opening credits shows a windmill with a kiln behind it, set in a hillside, with a man tending it. Afterwards, the windmills grow into enormous, apparently partially wind-powered factories or machines, with machinery digging deep into the earth. Dirigibles appear, along with airplanes and helicopters or autogyros flying against a clouded cityscape. A giant helicopter-ship is shown rising into the air, and then a Laputa-like city appears, with rotors. Subsequently a scene of floating islands and cities appears. Enormous, boxy, metallic helicopter-ships are shown, having rotors propelling them from the bottom. Disaster strikes: lightning is shown and redness fills the screen. A sky-city can be seen, faintly, crumbling in the background, and then people are shown leaving the wreckage of a giant helicopter-ship.