The History of the Lost City: A chronological view

For those who like dates and history, we bring you the Lost City from a chronological view. Enjoy how this civilization developed step by step while leaving us many tangible cultural expressions.

The first human settlements in the region and the development of culture

100 AD The first settlements belong to this period. The first inhabitants of the northern coast of Santa Marta were skilled craftsmen, potters, goldsmiths, fishermen, and hunters. They cultivated corn and cassava.

Lost City stone terraces and staircases

6th to 7th century As they spread along the beaches, valleys, and mountains, they develop the stone-based architecture, with which they build roads, terraces, canals, and small bridges.

10th century By the 10th century there is a large population settled in many parts of the region, their social structure is more organized. They develop their own style in pottery and goldsmithing. From this century to the 16th century it is called the Tairona period. It is during this period that civilization reached its apogee and structures like those of Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) reached their greatest splendor.

Apogee and disappearance of the Tayrona culture

1501 The first Europeans arrive to explore the coast of what is now Santa Marta. They are amazed when they see the Tayronas. Unlike other indigenous tribes, the Taironas cover themselves with cotton fabrics and wear ornaments of semi-precious stones and gold.

1525 – 1526 The city of Santa Marta is founded and the period of conquest begins. The Tayrona Indians, like all the indigenous tribes that inhabited the area would be called over time, made a strong resistance to colonization. The struggles would last 75 years.

1600 It is the final war between the indigenous tribes and the colonizers, from then on many indigenous people take refuge in the parts of the Sierra Nevada that are difficult to access. Others are executed, taken as slaves, and/or placed in encomiendas, settlements where the Indians could continue their lives as long as they pay tribute to the colony and the crown.

17th century During the 17th century while the city was facing pirate attacks. It is believed that in faraway places like the Lost City, the Tayrona continued their life. However, diseases brought by the Europeans unleashed epidemics among the Native Americans that decimated their population and ended their culture and social order. Tayrona culture disappears completely. The Lost City is abandoned.

The Archaeology and the Lost City in modern times

1965 – 1975 There is an increase in the number of looted archaeological sites in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Looters destroy many remains and trade archaeological pieces on the black market.

Human figure of clay, probably depicting a chief
Human figure of clay, probably depicting a chief

1973 An anthropological station is established in the Sierra Nevada to protect and investigate the archaeological legacy of the cultures that inhabited it. Two of the researchers identified 211 archaeological sites, of which Buritaca 200, what is now called the Lost City, is the largest.

1976 Due to the magnitude of this archaeological site, a project for its investigation and restoration is created. The project involves experts from different disciplines, archaeology, architecture, engineering, paleo-botany, and soils study.

1980 The Lost City is declared an Archaeological Park, along with two other sites in Colombia: San Agustín and Tierradentro.

1981 By this date, the restoration makes the stability of the ruins allow it to open to the public, since then begins the history of Ciudad Perdida as a tourist destination until today.

From this moment on, this place became a tourist destination par excellence waiting for you to visit. Book and live this experience with us!

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