The Nazca lines are located in the desert, a high arid plateau that stretches between Nazca and Palpa on the Pampa (a large flat area of southern Peru). You will be witness of one of Peru’s most impressive and enigmatic achievements, declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Since their discovery, the Nazca lines have inspired fantastic explanations from ancient gods, a landing strip for returning aliens, a celestial calendar created by the ancient civilization, used for rituals probably related to astronomy, or clans who made up the population and to determine through ritual their economic functions held up by reciprocity and redistribution, or a map of underground water supplies. The drawings and their meaning are even more mysterious than their origin. It is not even known how long it took to create them, nor how the creators were able to measure them with such perfection.
The lines were made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca desert. When the gravel is removed, the light-coloured earth beneath shows in lines of sharply contrasting colour and tone.
Archaeologists, ethnologists and anthropologists have studied the ancient Nazca culture and the complex to try to determine the purpose of the lines and figures. One theory is that the Nazca people created them to be seen by their gods in the sky. Kosok and Reiche advanced a purpose related to astronomy and cosmology: the lines were intended to act as a kind of observatory, to point to the places on the distant horizon where the sun and other celestial bodies rose or set.
The best way to appreciate this wonder is getting a ‘bird’s eye’ and embrace a plane. The best flying time is in the morning or the early afternoon, because then there is the best visibility over the 500km²- area, the world’s largest archaeological mystery. The Nazca lines consists of 300 geoglyphs, more than 800 straight lines and 70 spectacular animal and plant drawings, most etched out in a single continuous line. The figures are so huge that there is almost no chance to get a good impression of this huge region just from the ground level.
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