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La Ciudad Blanca, or the White City, walled by white stones, is a mythical city, and has been claimed to have been seen in the jungles of Honduras on the Mosquito Coast . The modern day legend of what has been named the Lost City started with Herman Cortes who, in 1526, traveled to Trujillo to recover his authority in the region. While there, he heard a rumor of a undiscovered city nearby, Huetlapalan, which translates to Old Land of Red Earth.
A few years later, in 1544, Bishop Cristobol de Padraza wrote a letter to the King of Spain describing the Mosquito Coast and its thick, luscious jungles. He described the terrain and surroundings, including a description of a large city that rested in one of the river valleys. His guides assured him that the myths told of nobles in the Lost City that ate from plates of gold.
From there, the legend of the Lost City grew. Many other explorers have claimed to have seen a city resting in the eastern Honduran jungle, including Thomas Morde, as recently as 1939. No one has successfully found the Lost City, though many have sought it. For almost a century, explorers have been launching expeditions and setting out to find the Lost City but have had no results.
Now, something has been found. A team of explorers, along with a documentary film maker, have just returned from the Mosquito Coast. By using a new technology, known as LIDAR, they were able see the topology of a landscape via radar from a plane. They team stated they could see what could be discovered to be the Lost City. The team, including archaeologist Chris Fisher from Colorado State University, believes they have found the ruins of an important ancient city, although they do not think that it is the Lost City of legend. “The White City myth is fascinating, but it is just that – it’s a myth,” said Fisher. He said, “I don’t think Ciudad Blanca actually exists.”
Nevertheless, what the team found was fantastic. In one place the team found 52 stone artifacts, all left perfectly in place. They though they may have been placed as an offering, though, this was just a theory. They found several seats that the ancient people possibly sat on to avoid touching the ground, a sign of being upper class. There were also several bowls left with anthropomorphic patterns etched into them.
Fisher and his team did not find only one city, but several. This leads archaeologists to believe that the legend of La Ciudad Blanca comes from not one giant lost city, but from many different cities being seen by explorers over the centuries.
According to further discovery associated with these findings, each of the ruins found had clearly divided space, insofar as the physical structure of a city. According to the team, this possibly meant that social stratification was clear. Each one revealed evidence of roads that lead to and from these cities with settlements on the outskirts of the alleged Lost City.
There are several versions of the legend of the Lost City, and most of them regard it as not being so much as a lost city but as a hidden one. In any case, whether the legend tells of one celestial city, shrouded in the Mosquito Coast jungles, or a collection of small cities that have risen and fallen over the centuries, the finding of these ruins is important to understanding the origin of Lost City.
Written by Leslie Smith
Photo by Daniel Mennerich – Flickr License