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In fact, this experience is possible in the dry desert of southern Peru where you will find the mysterious Nazca Lines, located just out of the Nazca city. To date, these lines remain a mystery to scientists. Nobody seems to know why they were made and with what purpose they served. Fortunately, the only thing the experts can agree is about how the Nazca Lines were made.
As is common, to know exactly about real things from the past is almost impossible. Scientists and archaeologists can only guess to the origin of some archaeological complexes and ancient objects. Even when they do their best, they only have similar opinions and research on how the Nazca Lines were made.
What are the Nazca Lines?
The Nazca lines are geoglyphs located in an arid coastal area of Peru that cover around 170 square miles. The lines are etched into the ground and there are literally thousands of different designs depicting creatures from both the natural world and the imagination. These designs feature animals such as the spider, hummingbird, monkey, lizard, pelican and a whale. There are plants such as trees, flowers and geometric shapes such as wavy lines, triangles, spirals and rectangles.
It is said that the lines date back to 200BC to 500AD, to the time when the Nazca people lived in the region. The ancient Nazca people’s in their prehistoric culture used engineering technics to bring water to the surface for irrigation purposes. Mr. Proulx and Mr. David Johnson were working on the Nazca Lines since 1996 and found the connection between the lines and the water system. Johnson mapped the location wells and faults that were sources of fresh water that were marked by the geoglyphs.
Johnson and Proulx stated the following: “Trapezoids were found lie directly over the tracks where the width of the trapezoids defined the width of the fault zone capable of transmitting groundwater”. The remarks and observations led them to a new hypothesis to explain the purpose of the lines. The Nazca Lines Peru were used as a water source and Nazca people relied on them for fresh water.
It is mentioned the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe was the first one to study and report the Nazca Lines after discovering the lines on foot in 1927. Then, with the increase of air travel in the 1930s, these lines became better known and nowadays attract multiple tourists every year.
How were they made?
The lines are geoglyphs or drawings on the ground made by removing rocks and earth to create an image. The desert floor has weathered over thousands of years so when the upper rocks were removed, they reveal a light sand colored rock. This light-colored rock is how we see the lines. Because of the dry climate, the lines have been preserved for more than 500 to 2000 years. Scientists believe the lines were made by the Nazca people, around AD 10 to 700.
Given the precision of the Nazca lines shapes and considering their enormous proportions, it is believed Nazca people used grids made with ropes and stakes to represent the drawings to scale. Also, since at ground level you cannot perceive if the figures are correctly drawn or not, it is thought the construction had to be directed from a high place.
In fact, although many think these lines can only be seen from the air, they are also locatable from the hills that surround the pampas (plains) and valleys. There, the figures of up to almost 300 meters long look perfectly. This sighting from the land makes it the main aspect to confirm the creators of these feats were the Nazca people.
Even so, the perfection of the plot unleashed more than one theory among which there are solstices, constellations and extraterrestrial sun gods.
Where are the Nazca Lines?
The lines are located around 200 miles south of Lima, the area features 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs, some of the lines are around 30 miles long and some are 1200 feet in length. The best way to see the Nazca lines is by plane, this way you will see the lines distinctly. In addition, you may go to the viewing tower located outside the Nazca city, from the tower you will see a few figures and it will cost you a few soles.
More point issues of history and discovery of the Nazca Lines
In the 1940s, American professor, Paul Kosok, investigated the lines when the sun was setting. He noticed the sunset was in direct alignment with the lines, so he called the lines the largest astronomy book in the world.
Kosok was succeeded by German scientist Maria Reiche, who was later known as the lady of the lines. She dedicated 40 years of her life to the study of the lines. Her theory was the lines were for an astronomical and calendrical purpose. She fought hard to protect the lines and even lived just outside the site to keep an eye on her project.
The flight over the lines can be taken from the airport in Nazca or the airport in Paracas, which is in northern Nazca. On your Paracas Peru tours, you can also visit the fascinating Ballestas Islands and see the thousands of birds’ varieties. Also, see the sea lions lazing in the sun.
Whether you have a luxury tour or a tour budget, you will find something for you in the Nazca area. The mysterious Nazca Lines are waiting for you to discover them. You can take the hair-raising plan ride on an airplane, or see the lines from the observation tower located outside of the Nazca city.
The Nazca lines tour allows you to witness the impressive feats of Peruvian man over time. Also, it gives you a chance to explore the colossal sand dunes of Paracas, ideal for a buggy ride or sandboarding. You can continue to Ica to visit the beautiful natural oasis Huacachina. While you are at it, you can end in a short tour to a winery. There, you will delight with the best and delicious Peruvian Pisco.
Come and see the Nazca Lines in the desert in southern Peru. Something that should be on your bucket list. Do not forget to see the rest of Peru and the incredible history the country offers.