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Ciudad Perdida

Ciudad Perdida is the archaeological site of an ancient city in Sierra Nevada, Colombia. It is believed to have been founded about 800 A.D., some 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu. This location is also known as Buritaca and the Native Americans call it Teyuna.

Ciudad Perdida was discovered in 1972, when a group of local treasure looters found a series of stone steps rising up the mountainside and followed them to an abandoned city which they named "Green Hell" or "Wide Set". When gold figurines and ceramic urns from this city began to appear in the local black market, authorities revealed the site in 1975.

Members of local tribesthe Arhuaco, the Koguis and the Asariohave stated that they visited the site regularly before it was widely discovered, but had kept quiet about it. They call the city Teyuna and believe it was the heart of a network of villages inhabited by their forebears, the Tairona. Ciudad Perdida was probably the region's political and manufacturing center on the Buritaca River and may have housed 2,000 to 8,000 people. It was apparently abandoned during the Spanish conquest.

Ciudad Perdida consists of a series of 169 terraces carved into the mountainside, a net of tiled roads and several small circular plazas. The entrance can only be accessed by a climb up some 1,200 stone steps through dense jungle.

Unfortunately, the area was at one time affected by the Colombian Civil War between the Colombian National Army, right-wing paramilitary groups and left-wing guerilla groups like National Liberation Army (ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). On September 15, 2003, ELN kidnapped 8 foreign tourists that were visiting Ciudad Perdida, demanding government investigation of human rights abuses in exchange for their hostages. ELN released the last of the hostages three months later. The AUC paramilitary group declared itself protector of this area. The Colombian Institute of Anthropology avoided the area after the kidnappings occurred and access to tourists was also restricted.

In 2005, tourist treks became operational again. The Colombian army actively patrols the area, which is now deemed to be safe for visitors and there have not been any more kidnappings. For a 6 day return trek to the lost city, the cost is approximately US$250 . This includes one night staying at the lost city. The trek is about 44 km of walking in total, and requires a good level of fitness. The trek includes a number of river crossings and steep climbs and descents. It is a moderately difficult trek.


Toby Muse - Lost City (Archaeology magazine September/October 2004)

External links

The Lure of Colombia's Lost City by Mark Henderson, The Guardian, October 24, 2009

La Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) by Darren Crawford

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ciudad Perdida

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