The Golden Condor (also know as The Great Condor, The Condor, The Grand Condor, or simply Condor) is a gigantic, solar-powered ornithopter (mechanical bird). This flying machine was built by the Hiva/Mu people. It uses solar energy to levitate and fly, thus only flying during the day. Near sunset, the Condor finds a suitable location and lands automaticaly. It serves as modern-day airplane for our 16th century heroes.
After being chased by the Urubus, the children, Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro escape into the first City of Gold by placing Esteban and Zia's medallions into the statue of the earth goddess, Pachamama. The first City of Gold turns out to be made of stone that looks golden only in the setting sun's light. Inside the city's centerpiece temple is a giant, multistory bird that appears to be made of solid gold; Sancho and Pedro declare themselves to be rich. Kokapetl discovers a quipu that has been placed in the Condor's beak, high above the ground. Kokapetl does not have enough strength to remove the quipu from its resting place, so Esteban and Tao make their way up the bird's back to retrieve it so Zia can read it.
The city and is built atop a volcano that becomes triggered during the escape from the Urubus. Believing they've only found a great treasure made of much gold and unaware the Condor can fly, they climb into the cockpit as this may be their only way to ride out the volcanic explosion. The volcano erupts sending the Condor and its crew thousands of feet into the air, where the sun can shine its rays and activate the Condor's flight abilities.
Unlike The Solaris, which has a manual Tao can read, the children along with the adults must figure out the Condor's operation mid-flight. Fortunately, the Condor has many undefined auto-pilot functions. Unfortunately, the Condor is solar-powered, which means it can never fly at night; there are also multiple situations where the Condor will land, emergency or otherwise, in a location where lesser, little or no sun is available, thus becoming "stuck" until our heroes can figure a way out.
Being an ornithopter, The Golden Condor's major and most obvious ability is flight. While it is solar-powered, how it flies is largely a mystery, as the bird does not flap its wings, nor uses any detectable engine.
In the updated Season 2 model of The Golden Condor, the designers added what appear to be engines or exhaust in the tail of the Condor.
The Golden Condor comfortably seats six. The children ride in the front seat, adults in the back seat. During the title sequences, the adults are never seen in the Condor.
Scaring the Enemy Edit
While the Condor has no known on-board weapons, it can be used to narrowly swipe the enemy, causing them to lose balance, fall or flee. As no similar technology would ever be wide-spread for four centuries, most on-lookers would have no idea what they were looking at, nor knew if it was alive or a predator thus providing an element of surprise and fear.
While being perhaps the most iconic property of The Mysterious Cities of Gold, the Condor does not appear in the story's narrative until episode 17, "The Great Condor," almost halfway through the season's run.
The Golden Condor is not the official name of the vessel, unlike The Solaris. It is simply the most common reference to the ship.
Zia has a pet condor named Patu she has not seen since she was a little girl. Patu should not be confused with The Golden Condor.