The Nazca Lines

Etched into the arid coastal plane 400 km (200 miles) south of Lima, the Nazca Lines and Geoglyphs are considered one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites. Archaeologists have attributed the Lines to the Paracas and Nazca cultures, as they appear to match the contemporary art forms of the Middle and Late Formative (500 BC – 200 AD) to the Regional Development Period (200 – 500 AD) in Peru.

The Lines and Geoglyphs take several forms including many that are nature-inspired, like flowers, plants, trees, and objects from everyday life, as well as straight lines that criss-cross or form geometrical patterns across the pampa landscape. In total, more than 900 lines and geoglyphs stretching anywhere from 500 to 1,200 feet in length can be found on the plains between Nazca and Palpa.

The Lines and Geoglyphs were created with such precision and with such care that they have managed to persist for more than 2,000 years, a fact that is due in large part to the lack of weather on the Pampas de Jumana. If frequent rain or wind existed in the region, the Nazca Lines and Geoglyphs would have eroded away centuries ago.

The Lines and Geoglyphs were created by removing the reddish pebbles from the dry desert surface to reveal the whitish-gray sand layered underneath. Experts continue to debate how such perfect designs on such a grand scale could have been created without some sort of aerial support or guidance. However, most researchers theorize that the forms were created via a grid system, similar to that of today’s surveying techniques.

Nowhere else on earth have there been found geoglyphs to this extent, size, magnitude, and quantity. The question is, why were they created? Many theories exist ranging from them being images for the gods, to being some sort of astronomical observatory, to being part of the Nazca culture’s religious practices. It is well known that the Nazca worshipped water, so a strong theory is that the Lines led to specific places for worshipping water deities.

UNESCO declared the site a World Heritage Site in 1994 for its highly symbolic undertone, unique artistic form, and shocking longevity across two millennia. Don’t miss the chance to see this remarkable Pre-Inca site during your Peru vacation. The best way to view the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Palpa is by plane, however there is also a viewing platform along the Pan-American Highway where several of the lines are visible.

For more information about visiting the Nazca Lines during your tour of Peru, contact a Kuoda Travel Designer today.