Mount Roraima in Venezuela inspired The Lost World

The Lost World Atop Mount Roraima

The Lost World Atop Mount Roraima

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
June 19 2014 12:59 PM

The Lost World Atop Mount Roraima

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In the Guiana Highlands in southeast Venezuela, a series of mesas rise from the ground, thrusting forests hundreds of feet into the air. Known as "tepui" or the "house of the gods," the 1.7-billion-year-old structures once formed a connected landform, but broke apart long ago.

The flat top of the highest of the Pakaraima chain of mesas, Mount Roraima, is surrounded on all sides by 1300-foot-tall cliffs. Because of its island-like ecological isolation, Roraima has a distinct ecosystem rich with unique botanical, zoological and geological curiosities. Fingernail-sized black toads, carnivorous marsh plants, and fields of quartz crystals combine with strange rock formations to create an otherworldly environment.

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Reports of this exotic land-island are said to have been one of the inspirations for Arthur Conan-Doyle's The Lost World, in which dinosaurs and ape men are discovered living atop an isolated mountain.

Mount Roraima sprawls across three nations, sitting on the Venezuela-Brazil-Guyana border. The easiest way to the top is from the Venezuelan side. "Easy," of course, is relative: it takes at least two days to trek to the summit.


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