Nazca Lines: A place of amazing history and mystery

The Mysterious Nazca Lines.

11:41 | Paracas, Dec. 1.

Motivations that lure visitors to Peru’s Ica region may be many — from its natural landscapes to its gastronomic offer — but its history and archaeological sites remain the top reasons to arrive in this coastal location.

And what better way to immerse into Ica’s legacy than by visiting the enigmatic Nazca lines. 

Peru’s emblematic Nazca lines provide a highly attractive destination for Annual Executives Conference (CADE 2016) attendees, who can visit the attraction and learn about this major remnant of ancient Peruvian culture.

The geoglyphs are large, detailed designs depicting geometric and zoomorphic figures covering an area 50 km long and 15 km wide. These magnificent archaeological site can be found between km 419-465 on Panamericana Sur highway.

First reports on these intricate patterns were made by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xespe in 1927. Later, in 1939, U.S. scientist Paul Kosok carried out a number of investigations on the lines as well. 

However, it wasn’t until 1946 that more thorough research works emerged, when German researcher Maria Reiche became interested in the geoglyphs. She would dedicate the rest of her life to their study and preservation. 

Various theories have been put forth to explain the origin and use of the lines, and some researchers affirm they date from 550 A.D. 

As for their purpose, the Lady of Nazca interpreted them as a gigantic solar and lunar calendar used by ancient Peruvian astronomers. 

Two traits characterize these markings: their massive size and shallow depth, which ranges from 15 to 30 cm. 

Over thirty of these drawings have been reported to date, including marine creatures, land animals, as well as geometric and anthropomorphic shapes. 

The largest geoglyphs are a bird of nearly 300 m, a lizard (180 m), a pelican (135 m), a condor (135 m), a monkey (135 m) and a spider (42 m).

The arid Nazca plains also play canvas to a whale, two llamas and various birds: a heron, a crane, a pelican, a seagull, a parrot and the symbolic hummingbird.


There are two alternatives to see these enigmatic figures: from the ground and from the air.

Visitors can climb ‘El Mirador’ (observation tower) built overlooking the archaeological site to appreciate two of the famous lines, the hands and the tree, as well as many other figures carved into the desert.

The other option is flying over the geoglyphs. In this sense, Nazca’s Maria Reiche Airport offers 30-minute tours to take in the view from above and marvel at the main figures.

The Nazca lines and geoglyphs were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 17, 1994.


Published: 12/1/2016
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