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The Mystery Behind the Lake – Lake Guatavita

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The legend of El Dorado is thought to have its roots in Colombia’s little Lake Guatavita. Which is locate northeast of Bogotá. It was a sacred site to the local Muisca people. Whose golden offerings sparked rumors of a lost city filled with riches and sent thousands of men on a trek across South America. Guatavita itself has pillaged for centuries, but it has never revealed its valuable secret. Here is all the information you require.

Keep in mind that Guatavita has used in three separate settings. We will be careful from now on to make it clear to whom we are referencing. The historic town of Guatavita, which is now cover by the reservoir. Used to be located on the incline of Montecillo hill. It served as both the Muisca people’s historic holy center and a location for the creation of beautiful metalwork.

Geographically and legally, the municipality of Sesquilé is the owner of the holy lake known as Guatavita. It used to be the ceremonial location where the Indians performed elaborate rituals honoring Chie, the water goddess. Which gave rise to the mythology of El Dorado. According to legend, the Muisca Indian chief would travel on a wooden raft, covered in dust, carrying four of his priests and the valuables amassed by his people. As a sign of adoration, he would toss the treasures into the lake before submerging himself. The value of gold to the Indians was not financial but rather spiritual. As a way to become closer to their gods.


Guatavita is a small Andean lake that is located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Bogotá. It may be lovely and nearly circular. But Guatavita does not instantly strike out as a distinctive place with such a significant historical significance. However, a lot of people think Guatavita is the location where El Dorado mythology originated.


The Legend of El Dorado

The legend is a historically significant fact that exemplifies much of what Colombians are and have. To the extent that someone from another part of the world who has no knowledge of Colombia might forget what or where it is while being able to describe and recall the legend in detail and how the Indians used processes like lost wax to give shape to the gold they mined and later sank into the lake.

The renowned Muisca Raft, which performs the most important. Indian rites on the waters of Guatavita, is one of the treasures of El Dorado. Currently on display in the Gold Museum in Bogota as part of collections that the Bank of Republic has recovered over the course of more than sixty years.

As a result, both the conquistadors’ looting of numerous valuables. The skill of the Muisca ancestors in manipulating gold to create sacred figures is support by the available evidence. The recovery of priceless objects is also obvious. There is Guatavita, the current town, which is white, colonial, and popular with tourists. The Tominé Reservoir’s waters cover the abandoned town of Guatavita. Although it came to a stop, it is still present, and the hikers may still enjoy the elongated, greenish lake that is surround by mountains and protected by environmental authorities.

The tradition may endure because it is impossible to confirm. Whether there are any Muisca treasures still buried in the lake’s murky bottom. How much Indian wisdom there is! What a goal-oriented ambition! Let’s leave the water alone and the mythology alone, though.

The Muisca People

The Muisca people, one of the four highly develop civilizations of the Americas along with the Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas, revered Guatavita as a sacred lake, and it is believe. That a rite they performed there served as the inspiration for the legend of El Dorado. Spanish conquistadors called the Zipa, the king of the area once known as Bacatá, “El Dorado,” which translates to “the Golden One” in Spanish.

The sacred lake of Guatavita was one of the locations where the Zipawas offered a golden sacrifice to the Muisca gods. In order to wash the gold off his body. He would dive into the lake while other members of the offering party tossed gold and silver figurines into the lake. He would cover himself in gold dust and then sail to the center of the circular lake on a small boat made of rushes. A well-known golden piece of jewelry kept in Bogota’s Gold Museum features a picture of the raft ritual.

Discovery of lake

Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, commonly known as the founder of Bogotá, is credit with discovering the lake’s location in 1537. While on an expedition in the eastern Andes. It is believ that the Spanish in the region first learn of the lake’s existence in 1531. At the time, he was looking for riches when he stumbled upon the origin of the “El Dorado” legends.

Finding Treasure

The first attempts to steal the lake’s gold undertaken in 1545. When a scheme to drain it with a “bucket chain” only cause a drop in water level of 3 meters (9.8 feet), and gold. With a current worth of about $100,000 found. The most famous attempt made in 1580 by a businessman from Bogotá who carved. A deep notch that is still evident on the lake’s rim today. Approximately US $400,000 worth of gold discover after the water level was lower by 20 meters (65.6 feet).

The Last Effort

Alexander Von Humboldt predicted that the lake could contain up to $300 million USD in gold. During his visit to Guatavita in 1801 based on the discovery made in 1580. A final attempt in 1898 resulted in 1.2 meters (4 feet) of thick mud and slime covering the lake. Which solidified in the sun and rendered an examination impossible. The only gold jewelry discovered was worth £500. The lake has been protect since 1965, but it appears that we will never fully comprehend all of its mysteries.

Today’s Lake Guatavita

Since the Spanish invaders of that era frequently describe as being “gold-crazed”. The exact origin of the mythology of El Dorado is likely to never be fully understood. It is more likely that the legend developed gradually from a number of related and competing stories and traditions. There is strong evidence, though, that the myth that altered the course of the South American conquest originated in the picturesque Lake Guatavita.

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