Ciudad Perdida The Lost City of the Sierra Nevada

The Lost City, Terrazas Ciudad PĂ©rdida, is also known as Buritaca and Teyuna. The Lost City Terraces are located in the midst of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the Santa Marta Tourist, Cultural and Historic District, Department of Magdalena, Colombia.

Ciudad PerdiQda is believed to have been constructed around 800 AD. The Lost City is made up of 169 terraces that are carved into the mountainside, a number of circular plazas, tiled road and lots of stone steps! The entrance to Teyuna is only accessible by going through the jungle and up 1,200 stone steps.

The Lost City is referred to as Teyuna by local tribes and was believed to be the central network of villages initially inhabited by their ancestors, the Tairona. The city was believed to have held anywhere from 2,000 to 8,000 people. The Tairona were attacked in 1599 by the Spanish, after they revolted from their control. The result ended with the abandonment of the Ciudad Perdida and the loss of many of the Tairona living in the region. The Kogi people are the descendants of the Tairona and they, along with the Arhuaco and Wiwas people, knew of the Ciudad Perdida for many years. They held the site sacred to their history and did not widely discuss its location.

The terraces of the Lost City were documented as ‘discovered’ in 1972 by a group of treasure plunderers. The forgotten city ruins were called ‘Green Hell’ or ‘Wide Set’ and was looted for its gold figurines, ceramic urns and other valuables to be sold at the black market. In 1976, archaeologists headed by the Instituto Colombiano de Antropologia, came and began to preserve and reconstruct the site.

For a short time during the early 2000’s the area around Ciudad Perdida was affected by the ongoing Colombian Conflict. In 2003, 8 tourists were kidnapped and held hostage but were later released. The area in which the tourist were kidnapped has now been restricted and tours were picked back up again in 2005. The Colombian army actively patrols the area now.

There a a slew of travel guides available on Amazon but the Wiwa Tour of Ciudad Perdida offers the most experience, as it is an indigenous owned and operated tour agency of the place. Since the site is held sacred it gives the Wiwa control to make sure the site is respected as it is toured. You also get to learn their customs, cultures and traditions.

One of the huts from the indigenous people living next to Ciudad Perdida Teyuna.

Where is the Lost City of Teyuna located? You can find it with these coordinates. 11.03805,-73.925293.

ancient abandoned ruins

All images used and licensed under CC BY NC ND 2.0. All images by Nuria Mpascaul / flickr / nuriamp.

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