A mythical city, belief in which is based entirely on a fragmentary 1754 account by a bandeirante who describes an expedition in the Amazon jungle, crossing mountains strewn with crystal rocks by way of a secret pass to reach an open plain whereon lay the ruins of a vast and grand city. In this city they find temples, statues; wide boulevards pierce through the blocks of buildings; following one, they reach a large plaza with obelisks in the corners »in imitation of those among the Romans«, and in the center a statue on a huge black stone column, a statue of an ordinary man pointing north. The tale then breaks up, but it seems that they find a great hall full of bats; above the portico of this hall are inscribed the Greek letters ΚυΦΙΣ. On the other side of the plaza is a wide river; this river the bandeirantes thread on rafts, passing abandoned silver mines, and return to the dubious civilization of Rio de Janeiro.

This sort of thing is obviously cause only for a strict sneering regimen, and yet it was taken seriously once.

In (weak) defense of mankind, unlike most »lost« and fabulous cities the City of Z was mainly the obsession of one man: Col. Percy Fawcett, the likely model of Doyle's Professor Challenger, a highly successful British explorer and probable lunatic who endowed the city with its cryptic name. He believed that Z was to be found in the Mato Grosso, and that it was the work of displaced ancient Europeans. In 1925, he mounted an expedition to find the city together with his son; the unforgiving Amazon ate them, and their remains have never been found.


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