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Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines

The Nazca culture developed in the Rio Grande valley in the province of Nazca (now Ica department). In its moment of greatest flowering it extended from Chincha, to the north, to the Acarí valley in the south, in the province of Caravelí (Arequipa).
This culture was discovered by Max Uhle in 1901. Chronologically, it is located in the Early Intermediate Period, between 10 BC. until 700 A.D.

Location

Its main seat was Kawachi, the first city in Peru, in the province of Nazca, then extending through the valleys of Rio Grande, Ingenio, Ocucaje in the Ica and Topará valley north of Chincha and the Acarí valley in the south.
Nazca is a valley in the middle of the desert. There, an agriculture bore fruit thanks to the construction of numerous channels and underground aqueducts that allowed rationally to take advantage of the underground water, the springs, puquios or the flow of the rivers, in increasing times. Some of the works continue to be used by current farmers.

The Nazca Lines

Next to the underground aqueducts, the enigmatic geometric figures that exist in the Nazca pampas are also striking. Located between kilometers 419 and 465 of the current South Pan American Highway, they extend over an area of ​​350 square kilometers. They are huge figures that can be observed from an airplane or from the nearby hills; even from a viewpoint built expressly for this purpose.
They were discovered by archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe in 1927. They have been studied since 1941 by the American Paul Kosok and especially by the German Maria Reiche. These works that take almost half a century try to unravel the meaning of the Nazca Lines.
To draw these lines, the ancient inhabitants of the Nazca Culture used various instruments; the tupu which was a metal or wood plate placed perpendicular to the Earth to project the shadow of the Sun and the Moon, the theodolite that was a wooden or terracotta tube from which a plumb line hung to trace the course of the lines; and the string and the water level. Thus they represented figures of animals, human beings, plants and geometric motifs.
What do these figures represent? There is no certain answer. There are divided opinions about it.
For some like Toribio Mejía they are dry or sacred roads.
For Hans Horkheimer, the strokes in the form of squares were places for sacred meetings, the stripes are geological lines of the groups concentrated there and the figures have had a choreographic purpose.
According to Paul Kosok and María Reiche, the lines are related to astronomy.
This last hypothesis is the most accepted. The inhabitants of the Nazca Culture were excellent farmers and had the need to know the direction of the stars through lines to determine the seasons. In this way the different agricultural tasks would be facilitated, as well as rest and party periods for example:

The 135 meter condor would also be the messenger of the proximity of the storms that have to moisten the earth.
Varec, a kind of seaweed that was used as fertilizer.
The 33 meter tarantula is a symbol of agricultural fertility.
Finally, the huarango refers to its wood, used for the construction of underground aqueducts.
Based on this knowledge, the ancient Nazkenses would have drawn up a calendar that would be the largest in the world.

The Nazca Lines intact over time
The Nazca lines have remained almost intact over time, despite having a rugged climate, this is due to the plaster-rich soil layer and the formation of a hot air mattress which protects the lines.

Tourist

The Nazca Lines are the most exceptional group of goglyphs in the world. Nazca offers as a destination a unique place in the world, full of mystery and mysticism, wonderful strokes of immense figures and lines, of spectacular perfection, on a desert plain, the work of a very ancient Peruvian civilization. Dunes and an immense desert plot of enigmatic figures, and transformed into fertile fields by the Nazca culture, between the 2nd centuries BC. and VII A.D., known for its irrigation systems and spectacular textile, but especially for its enigmatic lines.

Tourism in this area is associated with the Nazca Lines and Palpa Lines, only visible on aircraft overflights and visits to archaeological centers, especially Cahuachi. Normally Nazca is visited in combination with Paracas or Ica because of its proximity, alternatively in transit from or to Cusco when traveling by bus or on organized tours from Lima.

 

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