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Nazca Lines

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Nazca Lines

What do a giant hummingbird, a monkey, and an astronaut have in common? Well, apart from the Nazca lines facts that they´re all etched into the floor of the desert near Nazca, no one seems to know. Welcome to one of the world´s greatest mysteries - the enigmatic Nazca Lines facts. A mirage of green in the desert, lined with cotton fields and orchards and bordered by crisp mountain peaks, Nazca was a quiet colonial town unnoticed by crisp mountain peaks, Nazca was a quiet colonial town unnoticed by the rest of the world until 1901 when Peruvian archaeologist Max Uhle excavated sites around Nazca and discovered the remains of a unique pre-Colombian culture. Set 598 meters /1,961 feet) above sea level, the town has a dry climate - scorching by day, nippy by night- that was instrumental in preserving centuries-old relics from Inca and pre-Columbian tribes. Overlooking the parched scene is the 2,078 meter (6,815-foot) Cerro Blanco, the highest dune in the world. 

The Nazca Lines are one of the most mysterious places in the world. These strange and wonderful figures were discovered in 1927 near Nazca, one of the driest regions of the world on the south plains of the region of Ica. The size and complexity of these geoglyphs suggest some kind of mysterious origin. However, archeologists state that these drawing boards. The designs can be seen from the lookout (mirador) or in the air, flying on a light plane. The latter is the best option to see the designs, such as the hummingbird, the spider, and the monkey. Maria Reiche, a German researcher who spent all her life studying these figures, said that these lines, 15 to 20 cm deep, were an enormous astronomical calendar used to track down the different solar phases. She also said that the chalk from the desert plains is a magical and natural preserver of these images. It is very difficult to decipher the mystery but it is impossible not to be enchanted by it.


Nazca Lines Location 

The Nazca Lines are located in the Pampas of Jumaná, Ica region, in Peru, South America. Nazca is a town located 500 km south of Lima at about 600 m altitudes, the name "Nazca" comes from the ancient and enigmatic pre-Inca culture.

Nazca Lines Interesting Facts

  • Paul Kosok, many believe that Maria Reiche was the first to investigate the lines, however before she was Paul Kosok (USA) who was in Peru studying the irrigation systems and old aqueducts, he arrived in Nasca in 1939 believing that the lines were an irrigation system, later in 1949, his German partner Maria Reiche continued her work. 
  • In total there are about 80 figures in 500 km hundreds of trapezoids and spirals, in addition to thousands of lines, birds between 259 and 275 meters long (giant hummingbirds, condors, the heron, the crane, the gull, the pelican, the parrot among others), a monkey, a spider, a snail, a lizard, a 27-meter whale, a dog with legs and a long tail, an anthropomorphic figure, two llamas, etc. In the category of reptiles, a lizard that was "cut the tail" to build the South Pan-American Highway, an iguana, and a snake.  
  • It is common to see in the Nasca culture different figures of whales, for example, there are ceremonial ceramics with whale iconography besides offering heads, in August it was the passage of the whales that migrate from north to south through the Peruvian seas, the Nascas saw them as very powerful gods that are why they offered them trophy heads in a type of ceremony, that is why we see them reflected in the pampas of Nazca and ceramics. 
  • The figure is known as "the astronaut" is one of the most mysterious of the Nasca culture and for some people, it is evident that we were visited in the past by extraterrestrial beings.  
  • The aqueducts of Cantalloc are located 4 km from Nasca and are a great work of hydraulic engineering, were built by the Nasca culture 2000 years ago María Reiche worked until her last days studying and preserving the Nasca lines.
  • Although the best way to see the Nasca lines is from the air it is also possible to appreciate some figures from the ground, in 1978 Maria Reiche built a lookout at Km 420 of the Panamericana Sur 3 km from her home.  
  • In the pampas of Nasca, some lines pass over other lines, some figures are drawn on other figures or lines, and some lines have been drawn on other figures, so that it can not be affirmed which figure is the oldest, you can only be sure that some of these figures and strokes are very old.

Nazca Lines Geometric shapes

The Nazca Lines are a set of huge geoglyphs located in the central region of Peru that date back more than a millennium.  

Made by the Nazca culture, the lines are a set of slits of about 15 cm on the ground that, seen from the surrounding hills or an airplane, form more than 800 varied figures. Among them, there are simple geometric figures, labyrinths, plants, animals, and even figures of anthropomorphic beings that seem to be human beings. 

Among the hundreds of figures of the Nazca Lines, the most remarkable are those of animals that total a total of about 70 figures, since some of them can measure 270 meters in length. 

Much has been speculated about the purpose of these various figures. While experts say they were made to worship the gods, some more adventurous place the origin and the end of the Nazca Lines in extraterrestrial beings and ancestral astronauts. 

Even with the knowledge of the Nazca culture obtained from the archaeological discoveries, it was not until 1929 that the Nazca Lines Peru was discovered, when American scientist Paul Kosok looked out of his plane window as he flew over the north of Nazca town. Almost invisible from ground level, the Lines were made by removing the surface stones and piling them beside the lighter soil underneath. More than 300 geometrical and biomorphic figures, some measuring up to 300 meters (1,000 feet) across are etched into the desert floor, including a hummingbird, a monkey, a spider, a pelican, a condor, a whale, and an "astronaut", so named because of his goldfish-bowl-shape head. Theories abound as to their purpose, and some have devoted their lives to the study of the Lines. Probably the most famous person to investigate the origin of the Nazca Lines facts was Kosok´s translator, German scientist Dr. María Reiche, who studied the Lines from 1940 until he died in 1998. 

Among the more than 800 figures found in the Nazca area, these are the most remarkable: 


The hummingbird

It is a great figure located at the top of a plateau that represents a hummingbird. It measures about 95 meters.


The Condor

It is one of the largest figures of the Nazca lines. It represents a condor, a large bird that inhabits the area, and measures about 154 meters. 


The figure of the monkey is perhaps the most complex of the set, and, the most representative of it. It measures about 95 meters and represents a well-defined monkey. What differentiates it from the other figures of the Nazca Lines is the complexity of its tail. 


The spider

Another figure that stands out in complexity is that of the spider. The figure, which extends over 47 meters of the surface shows a spider with its eight legs. The most amazing thing about the figure is its incredible symmetry. 


The dog 

It is a well-defined figure of a canine that could well be a domestic dog or a coyote or a jackal. It shows the animal with the tail facing up. 

The giant

Undoubtedly the figure of the giant is the one that has given more to talk about. It shows a humanoid figure with his arm extended as a greeting. Because of the particular figure that this geoglyph represents, he has been popularly called The Nazca Astronaut, because, it seems that he wore a helmet on his head, and boots on his feet.

Nazca Lines, what are they?

The Nazca Lines are a set of strange and ancient figures located in the Peruvian desert, about 400 kilometers from the capital, Lima. They measure between 50 and 300 meters and since 1994 they are part of the Cultural Patrimony of Humanity, by decision of the Unesco


Nazca Lines, what do they mean?

<div">Researchers have defined them as "sacred roads," "a great astronomical book" or messages or offerings to the gods. For the German archaeologist, Maria Reiche Neumann, they are a solar and lunar calendar of enormous dimensions. It is hypothesized that its creators could forecast the best time to harvest and the rainy season. In 1968, Erich von Däniken published in his book Memories of the Future, that the Nasca lines were landing strips of extraterrestrial ships.

Who constructed these huge figures and lines? 

Apparently, the Nasca people, over many generations, removed hard stones turned dark by the sun to "draw" the lines in the fine, lighter colored sand. The incredibly desert conditions - it rains only about 50 centimeters a year on average - preserved the lines and figures for more than 1,000 years.


Why Nazca lines in Peru were constructed?

Why the lines were constructed is more difficult to answer, especially considering that the authors were unable to see their work in its entirety without any sort of aerial perspective, The scientist who dedicated her life to the studying of the lines was a German mathematician, María Reiche, For 5 decades she lived austerely in the Peruvian desert and walked alone among the lines, taking painstaking measurements and making drawings of the site. She concluded that the lines formed a giant astronomical calendar, crucial to calculating planting and harvest times. According to this theory, the Nasca were able to predict the arrival of rains, a valuable commodity in such a barren territory. Other theories, though, abound. Nasca is a seismic zone, with 300 fault lines beneath the surface and hundreds of subterranean canals; an American scientist, David Johnson, proposed that the trapezoids held clues to subterranean water sources. Some suggest that the Nazca lines of Peru not only led to water sources but that they were pilgrimage routes, part of the Nasca's ritual worship of water. Notions of extraterrestrials and the Nasca's ability themselves to fly over the lines have been dismissed by most serious observers. 


Viewing the Lines

An observation tower stands beside the Pan-American Highway (about 19km/12 miles north of Nasca), but it only allows a vague and partial view of three figures: the hands, lizard, and tree. The view from the tower is vastly inferior to the overflight, but it´s the best you´ll be able to do if you can´t take the stomach-turning dips and dives of the light-craft flights. 

The best way to see the lines is from one of the 3-9-seater planes flying out of Nazca Peru airport. Prices of flights vary from company to company but range between US$30-51 for a 30- to 45- minute trip. Flights leave in the morning and early afternoon, weather permitting, with the best time usually between 8-10:30 am, though it can be lazy in the early morning. 



Hotels and travel agencies tirelessly promote their tours. Aggressive tours meet arriving buses to hard-sell you before you´ve even picked up your pack. Don´t rush: most agencies are clustered at the southwest end of Lima. Never hand over money on the street. 

Tours to outlying sites usually include a tedious stop for a demonstration at a potter´s and/or gold-miner´s workshop.  

Nazca Lines Tour

The Day of Activity You will be picked up from your hotel in Nazca and brought in an air-conditioned vehicle to the airfield where you will board a light aircraft for a memorable aerial excursion on the Nazca Lines, known worldwide. A bilingual guide (Spanish / English) will assist you at all times until you board the plane. This flight over the Nazca Lines will cover the extension of the stone of the Nazca desert, whose surface is marked by gigantic drawings and geometric figures.  <div">The flight to Nasca lines lasts approximately 30 minutes and is the best way to see these fascinating lines and drawings that have intrigued people for years. Here, you will be able to see the different figures traced on the stone surface of the Nazca desert, representing stylized animals and plants, distributed in an enormous labyrinth of lines, trapezoids, triangles, and spirals that have been preserved for almost 2000 years. They are the most amazing is that an ancient culture has left behind. These designs, some of them, as long as 500 meters, can be seen only from the sky at an altitude of 1,500 feet.


Outlying Sites 

The small Maria Reiche Museum (admission US$1.50). Though disappointingly scant on information, you can see where she lived, amid the clutter of her tools and obsessive sketches, and pay your respects to her tomb. To return to Nazca Peru, flag down any passing bus. 

Scripted but interesting multilingual lectures on the lines are given every evening at Nazca´s small planetarium. 

At the Cantallo aqueducts (admission US$1), just outside town, you can descend into the ancient stonework using spiraling windows - a wet, claustrophobic experience. The popular Cemetery of Chauchilla (admission US$1.50), 30 km south of Nazca Peru, will satisfy any macabre urges you have to see bones, skulls, and mummies. A dirt road travels 25 km west to Cahuachi, an important Nazca center still being excavated. 



Go swimming at the Nazca Lines Hotel. An off-the-beaten-track expedition is to Cerro Blanco, the world´s highest-known sand une (2078m). It´s a real challenge for budding sand boarders fresh from Huacachina. Half-day mountain biking tours cost about the same (US$35). 


Getting there & around

Bus companies cluster at the west end of Lima, near the main Panamericana roundabout. Most services to Lima (US$5 to US$22.50, eight hours), Arequipa (US$7 to US$36, 10 to 12 hours), and Tacna (US$15 to US430), 13 to 15 hours) and minibusses (US$2.70, 2 1/2 hours) also leave from the roundabout. Taxis to the aerodrome cost US$1.


Nazca Lines Review 

  • Nazca Lines. We arrived at Nazca from Lima via bus, six hours away, with a stop at Paracas. Nazca is a very small city but it has a great attraction that is the mythical lines. We hire the flight in the hostel, its value is 90 uss, the flight lasts half an hour, and you have to have a good stomach. It is very worthwhile, the lines look very good and make you want to last a little longer. Another tour highly recommended to visit the aqueducts of the Nazca culture, they are more than a thousand years old and they are working, they only need cleaning once a year, they are even built with an anti earthquake technique. The tour lasts an hour or so and is contracted in several places. A day in Nazca is good to cover it all.  
  • Overflight. We fly the Nazca lines from Pisco, the plane of 12 people in excellent condition, as we were in Paracas flying from here is very comfortable, the trip lasts 1.30 hours, it is 30 minutes on the road and for 30 minutes these lines fly over, I love. Although I do suffer from dizziness, I do not recommend it, since the plane turns to both sides to observe all the figures. An excellent experience !!!! The company that flies from there is Aerodiana. 
  • On the Nazca Lines Viewer. The Nazca Lines viewer is already many years old and still has the same form and capacity of use that Dr. Maria Reiche left us. Being the second tourist attraction of Peru, the viewpoint should be improved and give greater capacity for use for the great demand it has. I developed a Plan to Improve the Mirador de Nazca and I hope that one day my dream will come true and that Mirador will improve.
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