The Real Reason We Haven't Yet Found The Lost City Of Paititi

According to Incan legend, deep in the rainforest lays a great lost city known as Paititi. Like any good lost city, it's said to be home to untold riches and great supplies of gold, silver, and jewels and was perhaps even founded by a hero of Incan folklore (via Forbes).

The lost city of Paititi is linked to the story of the Inkarri or "Incan King," according to Ancient Origins. In 1533, Atahualpa, the Incan king at the time, was executed under orders from Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Legend says that just before his death, Atahualpa said he would return one day to avenge his death. Atahualpa became a martyr to the Incans, and it is said that he founded the city of Paititi according to Ancient Origins.

Upon raiding the Incan city of Cusco, the Spanish made of what was believed to be only a fraction of Incan wealth. Some believe that a large portion of Incan gold, silver, and jewels was taken to Paititi, according to WhatCulture.

The story of Paititi has fascinated explorers and archaeologists for decades. Expeditions into the farthest depths of the Amazon are even what inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his 1912 novel "The Lost World." But despite all the attempts to locate it, Paititi's exact location — and even its very existence — remain shrouded in mystery.

Paititi's location has been narrowed down, but that won't make it any easier to find

In 2001, while searching through the Vatican archives, Italian archaeologist Mario Polia made a fascinating discovery. It was a report from a missionary named Andres Lopez dated 1600 (via Forbes). The report contained details of a city deep in the jungle that the natives referred to as Paititi. Lopez told the Pope this information, and since then, the Vatican has kept the location of the city a secret.

However, Incan folklore tells of a city east of Cusco, which may have served as the final refuge for the Incans following the Spanish Conquest and could be Paititi. This would place Paititi east of the Andes near the border of Bolivia and Brazil.

Even with the search area somewhat narrowed down, finding Paititi will remain a difficult — even dangerous — challenge for those seeking it. Not only is the city thought to be located in a remote part of the rainforest which isn't easily traversable, but the proposed location is also home to more modern obstacles. Drug trafficking, as well as illegal logging and oil mining, are quite common in the area, and many expeditions have ended in the deaths of explorers according to Forbes.

Perhaps someday, the city of Paititi will be discovered and the riches held within it will be uncovered and shared with the modern world, but one thing is certain: it won't be an easy task.