Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#849 Nazca Lines, Peru

It's very common to say that photos don't do a place justice, but in this case, they really don't. The Nazca lines are one of the most incredible things I've seen, and they can only been seen from the air, but the photos just don't capture the magic. 
Human or alien?
The circa 400AD geogyphs cannot be seen well from the ground, though there is a spot off the Pan-American highway where there is a viewing platform and they can be seen from the surrounding hills. This means that tourist flights zip around the 80km plateau area -- that's the only way to really see them. There is an alien-like man, several birds and insects, a monkey, a spider, a dog, hands, along with zoomorphic geometric designs and other images. They must be several hundred meters in size, and are made by clearing the rock-strewn area so that a clear patch is formed -- the sheer size is impressive, but also the mysteries about how and why they were made. 
The Nazca people were responsible for the ceremonial city of Cahuachi, and also created an impressive aqueduct system in addition to these lines. Despite a severe 1996 earthquake that flattened the modern town of Nazca, and floods in 2007 the dry, windless desert helps to preserve these creations. The difficulty of seeing them also helped preserve them for us to see. They were only "rediscovered" relatively recently, when Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe saw them from the surrounding hills in 1927, and new figures are still being discerned from the multitude of lines even now. 
However, whether they were to form pictures for gods in the sky, an observatory, a collection of constellations or negative space in the milky way, or a pathway to places of religious observance, they are truly remarkable!
Map of Nazca sites
Viewing platform on the ground -- very hard to see anything at all!

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