Around five hours from Lima you will come across the small town of Nazca, not really very much happens there, it has a few hotels and several restaurants but nothing much to speak of. The town receives no rainfall at all so the weather is warm and dry all year round. However, what is the attraction, why should you visit this little desert town, what is the purpose of staying in Nazca Peru. Well the purpose is something you should not miss on your Peru holiday, the extraordinary Nazca Lines. What are the Nazca Lines Peru, you may ask, good question as the lines although mysterious and magical are not well known?
So what are they, the lines are geoglyps or drawings on the ground made by removing rocks and earth to crate 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, the 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 that the lines were made by the Nazca people, from around AD 10 to 700.
The lines were discovered in the 1930s when two pilots flying a commercial flight saw the lines and reported them to the Peruvian government. In the 1940s American Professor Paul Losok investigated the lines, when the sun was setting he noticed that the sunset was in direct alignment with the lines, 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 that the lines were for 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 lines are located around 200 miles south of Lima, the area features 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant deigns, 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. Also you may go to the viewing tower located outside the town of Nazca, from the tower you will see a few figures and it will cost you a few soles.
Some of the figures you will see on your flight over the Nazca lines are the Condor, hummingbird, pelican, shark, bird, fish, spider, lizard, parrot, flamingo, iguana, dog, llamas, jaguar, fox, whale and monkey. The largest figure is the bird measuring around 990 feet.
In recent years the discovery of the Cahuachu People has bought some new insight into the mysterious lines. Just south of Nazca, scientists have discovered the lost city of the line builders, it is said to have been built around 2000 years ago and abandoned around 500 years later, the artifacts found at the sight are giving the researchers new information about the people who are now believed to have built the lines. Until now nobody knows why the lines were built and for what purpose, we may never know.
Over the years there have been many different theories as to the purpose of the Nazca Lines, a book published in 1968 supported the theory that the lines were landing fields for for extra terrestrials and the lines were created by aliens many thousands of years ago. Archeologist Johan Reinhardt believe that the lines have a religious purpose and were for worshipping the gods. But the truth is that many archeologists and scientist have studied the lines and there are still many pieces of the puzzle missing, so many questions left unanswered, what purposed do the lines serve, who built them, when were they built. Thanks to some ancient culture we are able to see the lines today and wonder at the magnificence.
You may want to know what is the best time to go to Peru, Peru has many seasons depending on what part of the country you visit. On the coast there is winter and summer, in the highlands you will have wet and dry season and in the jungle you also have the wet and the dry season. Nazca however is great to visit all year round.
You can also visit Nazca from a Lima Peru sightseeing tour, from the capital there are flights available over the lines, this is a little more costly than from the town of Nazca, but an option that many people choose. There is also flights available from the town of Pisco around four hours drive from Lima, these are great options if you are short on time. But if you have the time go to Nazca and see the lines as the town also has some other attractions worth a visit.
Go and discover the mysterious Nazca Lines for yourself, include Nazca as part of your Peruvian adventure, hear the theories and the stories, take some of the best pictures you will ever take, don’t miss the ancient Nazca Lines.