Fact, fiction and other stories about the Lost City.

La Ciudad Perdida, or the Lost City in English, is known as ” Teyuna” and “Buritaca” in Colombia. The city was build in 800 AD  and is six hundred and fifty years older than Machu Pichu. The Lost City was discovered in 1972, by some fortune hunters. High up in the mountains, difficult to access, they hoped to find fame and fortune. To the tribes of Arhuaco- Kogi and Wiswas this place is known as Teyuna.

The Kogi, Cogui or Kagaba, which means jaguar, are an indigenous ethnic group in the Sierra Nevada in Colombia. Their forefathers were the Tairona people, about 2000 to 8000 people, who lived in this city. The Taironas were an advanced civilisation who build stone structures and pathways in the jungle.

The Kogi made gold objects, which they hung from trees and around their necks. When the Caribs invaded around 1000 AD they fled into the mountains.There they build a city with 169 terraces, and several circular plazas. The terraces are all that is left behind. The houses have all but disappeared, as they were build from stone, mud and palm leaves. We know what the houses looked liked as the Kogi who still live on the site, are building the houses as they have done over the centuries. People have asked me how it compares to Machu Pichu, but that is like comparing bananas and strawberries!! ( I know it is like comparing apples and oranges, but I wanted to be a tad more inventive and stay away from cliches!)

The clothing that the original people wore is still what the Indigenous people wear today. Men wear a loose tunic and simple pants tied with string. Women wear a single length of cloth. The women pick, card and spin the wool or cotton, while the men weave the cloth.  The KogI wear only pure white clothing. White represents the Great Mother and therefore the purity of nature. All indigenous groups still wear white clothing as far as I have seen. Everybody wears the traditional shoulder bags, which are crochet with abstract patterns to represent where the people come from and belong!

Kogi marriages are arranged by the Mamos, ( will talk about them later)  to ensure fruitful communities. These marriages are NOT forced, nor are women sold or bought. Most women are about fourteen years old when they get married. Even in this day and age, the indigenous women and men marry very young. The Kogi don’t allow mistreatment of the women. Not all marriages are arranged, but the Kogi disapprove of  breaking arranged marriages.

The Kogi live in villages, which are called Kuibolos, in circular huts made of stone, mud and palm leaves. Men live in seperate huts. Each village has a large hut, a Nuhue, or temple. These Nuhue, or temples are for the men only. Women are not allowed, as they are much more connected to the Great Mother and have no need for a temple! There are women priest however. Alumna is the Great Mother. Mother Earth is a living being and humanity are her children. The Kogi say that our actions of exploitation, devastation and plundering of resources is weakening the Great Mother and will lead to our destruction.

The Cosmic Universe exists in dualistic expression. The sun divides the Universe in two. There are men/women , right/ left, dark /light, heat/ cold, each is needed to experience the other. We need complimentary opposites, how do we know heat? If we don’t know cold? There is a Holy Mountain, the Gonawindua, or poco Cristobal Colon. This mountain is the heart of the world and the Elder Brothers care for it! The outside civilisations is the younger brother. The BBC made a documentary about this” the Lost Tribe that is saving the World”. I have not as yet looked this up!

Fields, houses and livestock passes from mother to daughter as well as from father to son. This is called a bilateral inheritance. Personal items, such as ritual objects, which are male passes down from father to son. But certain rights, names or associated descents are passed down from mother to daughter.

Common crops are sugar and coffee. Women do the planting but the crops are the responsibility of the whole family.

One of the most sacred objects for men, is the Poporo, a small, hollow gourd filled with “Lima” a type of powder that is made from crushing shells to produce lime. The men chew coca leaves and suck on the line powder in their potoroos. They then rub the mixture on the stick to form a hardened layer or crust.  Maturity and age determines the size of the Poporo. The traditional bags are made by the women for the men to put their sacred objects in them. To this day you can still see the Indigenous people around Colombia, even here in the middle of the city, using heir Poporo. In the gold museum there were several Poporos on show, covered and decorated with gold leaf.

From birth a selection is made to chose a priest, which are called mamos ( meaning Sun) . Priest are selected for guidance, healing and leadership. They are not to be confused with the Shamans or curlers. The selected male children are put in a dark cave for nine years. Elder Mamos and their mother train, feed and teach the child to attune to Aluna.

In the past the Lost City has not always been safe to visit. In 2003  eight foreign tourists were kidnapped.

This information was sourced from Wikipedia, and most of the images as well! ( I took a lot of photos but they are on the camera!)




The Lost City


Bogota, Botero and Beggars.


  1. Janet

    Another interesting ‘blob’ thanks Ineke. You always manage to paint a great picture with your words.

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