The term “Lost Cities” refers to places of legends and myths, where a city and its inhabitants have vanished. The mystery comes in with their absence. Humans often look to find answers and in these lost lands lies great adventure. These are the five most astounding tales of lost cities, each with a set of mysterious questions that are yet to be answered.
The legendary city of El Dorado is thought to have lain near the present-day city of Bogota, Colombia. The name “El Dorado” literally is translated to “The Golden One” in Spanish. As legend has it, the Zipa, or King of El Dorado would pay tribute to a deity that lived in Lake Guatavita by covering himself in gold dust and swim the lake. The people of El Dorado would throw jewels and gold into the lake as he had his swim. A city of such treasure has sparked the interest of many explorers, including Gonzalo Pizzaro, who led a team of 300 soldiers along with thousands of Indians to search the land for El Dorado only to be met with famine, disease, and death. The city of El Dorado is still yet to be discovered.
At the center of the Iliad- Homer’s epic poem, is the city of Troy. The tales of this great city and the people from which it came were only passed down by generations and in the works of Homer. Playing home to the Trojan War and the legendary tale of the Trojan Horse, Troy was told to be a strong city with fortified walls that was located near the river Scamander. For centuries, Troy was considered simply a mythological city borne out of one poet’s imagination. It was not until the late 19th Century when Heimlich Schliemamm found remains of the city of Troy in Turkey. The rediscovery of Troy is the kind of thing that keeps the hope of adventurers alive, hoping they will be the next one to find one of the great lost cities of the world.
First written about by Plato in 360 B.C., this city is believed to have sunk into the sea. Not only did the city sink to the bottom of the ocean, this disaster is said to have happened in one day, decimating any evidence of the civilisation that inhabited Atlantis. The mystery of the disappearance is enough to tweak anyone’s imagination but the tale does not mention an ordinary society of insignificance in this legend. The city of Atlantis was rumoured to be highly extravagant. With a royal structure, a strong naval force, and considerably advanced in technology, the inhabitants of Atlantis and the whole of the civilisation would have been arguably a quite prosperous city. However, the city is no more; it is lost to the sea. Countless teams have set out in search of the city of Atlantis to no avail thus far and no end in sight for the search.
Lost City of Z
The Mato Grosso region of Brazil in the Amazon Rain-forest is the next destination on our tour of cities. The Lost City of Z was reportedly another advanced civilisation set among roads, bridges, and temples of significant architectural capabilities. The first reference to the city came about from the writings of a Portuguese explorer who claimed to have found the city in 1753. The tale of the city intrigued Percy Fawcett, a British Colonel and explorer. The last anyone had heard from Fawcett was in 1925 when he and his son set out to find the Lost City of Z, after which many other explorers decided to try their hand at the rediscovery only to end up dead or missing in the process. It was not until recently that any evidence of the city was found. The ruins of a large city showing signs of highly advanced civilization were found in the deep Amazon Forest of Mato Grasso. The city, named Kuhukugu, is thought to be the site Fawcett sought, though there is still no verification if this great city is indeed the Lost City of Z.
City of Patagonia
Legend tells of a city at the southernmost tip of South America in the region of Patagonia. The city goes by many names: City of Patagonia, Wandering City, and City of the Caesars, to name a few and is rumoured to have been inhabited by ten-foot-tall giants. The tale of the City of Patagonia entails a city founded by shipwrecked Spaniards, who settled here and found hoards of gold and jewels. Other rumours of the city included ghosts, being located in a valley between a mountain of gold and one of diamonds, being founded by the lost Incan people, and that the city can appear and disappear at will.
There are an abundance of lost cities around the world which are always talked about mostly because people are interested in how all of these cities came to be lost. One thing is for sure, these cities will be told as part of stories for years to come.