Opar is a fictional lost city in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Tarzan novels.
Burroughs may have taken the name from the Biblical reference to Ophir, whence King Solomon supposedly received a cargo of "gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks" every three years, via the Red Sea, which was presumably somewhere in Africa, but of which hardly anything else is known.
The city first appeared in the second Tarzan novel, The Return of Tarzan (1913), and was revisited in the fifth, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar (1916), the ninth, Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1923), and the fourteenth, Tarzan the Invincible (1930). Exiles from Opar also appear in Burroughs' juvenile story "Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins, with Jad-Bal-Ja, the Golden Lion" (1936, later published as the second part of Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins in 1963).
Opar is located deep in the jungles of Africa
. Portrayed as a lost colony of Atlantis
in which incredible riches have been stockpiled down through the ages, the city's population exhibits sexual dimorphism
caused by a combination of excessive inbreeding, cross-breeding with apes, and selective culling of offspring. Consequently, female Oparians are physically perfect, while male Oparians are beast-like brutes. The ruler and high priestess of the city is Queen La
, who on her first encounter with Tarzan falls in love with him, and subsequently carries a torch for him. Tarzan, already committed to Jane Porter
, spurns her advances, thus endangering his own life, as the religion of Opar condones human sacrifice. Yet he returns to the lost city time and again to replenish his personal wealth from its hoarded treasure.
Opar is also the setting of Philip José Farmer
's novels Hadon of Ancient Opar
(1974) and Flight to Opar
(1976), which expanded the idea of Opar into a pre-historic world (some 10,000 years ago) in which Africa had two huge linked inland seas, cradle to a pre-Egyptian
civilization. This primeval empire was based on an island in the more northern sea, taken to be Atlantis in the Tarzan books; the city of Opar, located on the more southerly sea, is portrayed as having been a small back-water in this much larger nation. Farmer's novels mix characters from the Tarzan series and H. Rider Haggard
's Allan Quatermain
series ("Laleela" and "Pag", here re-named "Lalila" and "Paga").
In other media
On film, Opar was seen in the early Tarzan movies The Adventures of Tarzan
), based on The Return of Tarzan
, and Tarzan the Tiger
), based on Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar
, as well as the more recent film Tarzan and the Lost City
). Opar also appeared, in the guise of a generic African village, in Tarzan and the Lost Safari
(1957), in which the Oparians were led by the male chief Chief Ogonooro (played by Orlando Martins
) rather than the female queen/priestess La.
Opar has also appeared in some of the television series based on the Tarzan books.