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La Ciudad Perdida and the Kogi tribe




The indigenous Kogi tribe lives in the valley where the track to la Ciudad Perdida passes. They live in a traditional way. They do not like to get disturbed too much, and they do not like to be photographed. There is an agreement with the Colombian government that allows tourists to pass through their land. The Kogis call themselves “the elder brothers”. We are the “younger brothers”. They watch over the earth and us.

La Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) was built by the Tayronas, it was founded already around 800 AD, 650 years before the Incas built Machu Picchu. Between 4000 and 12000 people lived here. When the Spanyards ruled the coastland in the sixteenth century, the Tayronas still lived in the area. The Spanyards never penetrated so far into the country as to the lost city, but their illnesses did, and a majority of the Tayronas probably died. Around this time those who survived left the area. It is possible that the Kogis and three other tribes are descendants of the Tayronas, but nobody knows for sure.

La Ciudad Perdida was rediscovered in 1972, and plundered by tomb raiders for a couple of years before the government was aware of this. After this (1976) the City was (partly) excavated and restored, and after a while some few tourists started to visit here. The area was at the time partly ruled by guerillas, and there were a lot of jungle cocaine laboratories. The indigenous people had quite good earnings from this. In 2003 the ENL (guerilla) took a group of tourists as hostages. This made la Ciudad well known, but it also added to the opinion that Colombia was a dangerous country. The hostages were all set free. Today the area is quite safe. There are no more jungle laboratories, and the Colombian military protects the area. The ENL has sought peace talks with the government, according to Colombian newspapers in January 2015.