Ciudad Blanca and the Legend of the Lost City of the Monkey God

In our world of extreme modern innovation– sometimes to the point of destruction of ancient grounds– it’s a beautiful thing to know that there are still lands that are unexplored. Apparently, archaeologists have just discovered one of those places deep in the jungles of Central America, and I can’t wait for more updates about it! It is apparently a world that “resembles a vast tended garden” deep in the heart of the Honduran jungle. It has been sought after for centuries, most famously by Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes, to no avail. The wild tangles are rumored to be the location of a sprawling, mythical lost city in Honduras’ Mosquite region, with an ancient reputation of being filled with riches and gold.

“The Lost City of the Monkey God” has gone unexplored since 1940. Charles Lindbergh, the first pilot to fly the Atlantic solo, urged an American adventurer named Theodore Morde to explore the land, claiming he had flown over fantastic ruins of a Honduran metropolis.

Morde agreed, and when he returned from his journey he told wild stories of his experiences. Morde’s details enhanced our current understanding of the legend: huge monkey statues, monkey-human hybrid gods, and of course, the riches. Unfortunately he died before he could ever return again.

I find it incredible to think that the land has gone untouched for so long. The concept of “last frontiers” has always intrigued me, and while this isn’t exactly a frontier, it does seem like a snapshot from a civilization that we’ve never had access to. The dense stretch of jungle may have a remote location and dangerous nature within, but if the hype is true, it could provide so much insight for us in both archeological terms and in discoveries of new wildlife.

Scientists will speak about their findings of towns and pyramids later this week. Many people are involved in this, if only to explore the concept of aerial 3D mapping, but the task is run by a company called UTL Productions. Steve Elkins, their organizer, hopes to release their findings in a documentary.

This also was interesting for me to read because it came on the tail of the depressing news that significant portions of ancient Mayan pyramids in Belize have been destroyed for rock excavation purposes. The Noh Mul complex near Mexico had been illegally destroyed, giving “ruins” a whole different connotation from now on. I was disgusted to read that these pyramids had survived for thousands of years and then were crushed at the helms of unfeeling bulldozers.

Curiosity and the devotion to modernity have helped us make great leaps as humans, and have helped us discover lands we might otherwise never know about. However, there’s a finesse in handling these times gone by that we so often seem to lack. I hope that our further exploration into these jungles doesn’t take a route that is remotely similar to Noh Mul’s mistreatment; we should be better than that.

8 comments

  • Killer article, Emily! Thanks for not only sharing and commenting on the news of this latest find, but then framing it in a modern/historical context concerning what we value as a people. I, too, am amazed that these fantastic, forgotten places, are slowly being rediscovered and, we hope, recovered!

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    • It’s so great to see something like this being treated the right way…so far, anyway. I started out just scanning over the news of the discovery (as you know) but I ended up getting really immersed in its history! I wish I had known about it sooner.

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  • Fascinating stuff ………………. I look forward to the updates as well and share your hopes that the remains are sympathetically dealt with.

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    • I’m hoping that the documentary aspect will keep them from being too hasty. Being followed around by video cameras is some good motivation to tread carefully.

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  • This is exciting! I think I may have heard something about this while I had the TV on for background noise. It is fascinating, but I find myself being distracted by your mention of the Mayan pyramids being destroyed – what a shame and it really disgusts me. I find it hard to believe such monuments could be so carelessly wasted. Glad there seems to be better judgement going on with this discovery.

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