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565 m
1011 hpa

Enigmatic Geoglyphs

Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are located in Nasca, one of the five districts of the province of Nasca. It is located in the department of Ica in the south of Peru and its capital, Nasca city, is at 585 meters above sea level.

The town was founded in November 28th, 1548 and during the first republic years it received the district category.

The Nasca and Paracas lines are located in the Palpa and Nasca valleys in the department of Ica. Also known in the scientific world as geoglyphs, the Nasca lines are one of the most important legacies of the pre-Inca cultures. The Nasca lines are huge drawings of animals, plants, objects, humans, gods and geometric shapes on the desert’s sand. The archaeologists and paranormal investigators have suggested different theories about their origins and meaning. Some interpret the lines as a huge astronomic calendar or a place to worship the water built by the Paracas culture, while others attribute their existence to extraterrestrial forces. In 1990, UNESCO declared the Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Pampas de Jumana as World Heritage.

They are the most outstanding group of geoglyphs anywhere in the world and are unmatched in its extent, magnitude, quantity, size, diversity and ancient tradition to any similar work in the world.

 

Map of Nazca Lines

DON'T MISS THE NAZCA LINES EXPERIENCE

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History

The Nazca culture developed in the valleys of the current department of Ica, south of Lima.  Its territories reached up to Chincha to the north and Arequipa to the south. In the 6th century, they had contact with the Andean zone, and even reached some high areas of Ayacucho. This contact is very important to the formation of the Huari culture.

The Nazca culture outstands for its polychromed pottery, with animal, plant and men forms. They also worked with textiles and metals. Their economy was based on agriculture using hydraulic engineering to build aqueducts to solve the problem of the bristly ground.

The most impressive aspect about this culture are the geoglyphs engraved on the Jumana plains: gigantic shapes of animals, geometric designs and human beings made at an impressive scale and precision. They are currently known as the Nazca lines.

Though the reason or purpose of the lines are not known, there is a theory that states that they were a gigantic calendar made after their astronomic observations. According to the Yamagata university in Japan, the lines were the core of the ritualistic activity of the Nazca and other surrounding cultures. It has been discovered that the lines were made by more than one culture and in different moments of history. These engravings had an integrating purpose of the cultures that developed between the coast and mountains of Ica.

The city of Nazca was founded on November 28th, 1548 and during the first republican years it was given the category of district.

Geography

Nazca is one of the provinces of the Ica department. It is located south of Peru and shares borders at the north with Ica and Palpa, at the east with Ayacucho, at the south with Arequipa and at the west with the Pacific Ocean. It has an area of 5,234.24 km2 and a population of 58,780 inhabitants.

Nazca’s geography consists mainly of valleys and rivers; however, it is best known for its coastal desert crossed by the highway and where the Nazca lines are located.

The San Fernando National Reserve and the San Juan and San Nicolás bays are in Nazca.

Attractions

Below, we will elaborate on the main attractions from Nazca:

  • Nazca lines: the zone’s main attraction. The best way to see the lines is by taking a ride on a light aircraft from Nazca, Ica or Pisco. It is also possible to see some shapes from the viewpoints located along the highway.
  • Cahuachi: a Nazca culture´s citadel and ceremonial center. There, we can see a set of pyramids and squares in a 24-kilometer area.
  • Chauchilla cemetery: a pre-Incan necropolis. It is not defined whether it was from the Nazca or Huari culture, both developed between the 2nd century BC and the 9th century AD. Here, we can see remains of pottery, textiles and some mummies.
  • Museo Municipal de Nazca (Municipal Museum of Nazca): located in the city’s main square, it displays pottery, textiles and tools from the Nazca culture.
  • San Fernando National Reserve: located in Marcona. This place is home to one of the largest populations of Humboldt penguins, sea lions and guano birds. During the sea lion breeding season, we can also find the Andean condor that descends to eat placentas and dead sea lions. Luckily, we can also see Andean guanacos.

Food

Nazca’s typical dish is the bofe. Made from beef innards. We can also find the patita con maní, and corn humitas and tamales. There are different restaurants with seafood and creole food options in the city.

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