When we arrived early on a sunny morning at the airport of Nazca, we hoped to be off soon. Not just because the light was perfect, but also because we wanted to have breakfast. We had postponed it to prevent stomach problems during the flight over the Nazca lines. One hour later, however, we were still walking around to find a plane and a pilot - the operators here turned out to be unreliable, trying to attract customers with all kinds of stories and excuses. Meanwhile, the first planes were leaving with people who had booked a flight the day before. Just as we were about to postpone the flight to the hazier afternoon hours, one agent shouted to us: we could complete his party. Within 10 minutes, we were airborne in a Cessna.
The very able pilot then gave us an unforgettable half hour of exploring the Nazca lines from the sky. Flying so low we could easily recognize the figures below us, we saw gigantic figures of animals, a tree, lines, triangles, and an astronaut. Some of the figures are simple, but some are quite elaborate. The pilot made sure to fly his plane almost vertically to give us the best possible view. The early morning light on this clear October morning was perfect to appreciate these enigmatic lines and figures. We were all glued to our windows, looking in awe at the unique view below us: geoglyphs made in this arid desert some 2000 years ago. Later that day, we visited the observation tower and a hill close by, and had a closer look at the two figures seen from here: the Hand and the Tree. Here, it was obvious how the figures are made: by selectively removing the top layer of loose stones, the lighter coloured soil becomes visible.
The figures were created by the Nazcans between 200BCE and 700CE in an area of 500 square kilometres; the largest figures are almost 300 metres long. They were discovered by passengers of planes in the 1920s who reported seeing "landing strips" in the desert. It has been proven that the figures are not very difficult to make - the real mystery lies in the motivation of the ancient Nazcans, since it is not likely they could see the figures themselves. Several theories, from markers for water sources, enormous astronomical calendars, religious rites, figures for the Eye in the Sky, to the lines being landing strips for alien spacecraft, have been proposed, and we might never know why they are there. Which, of course, greatly adds to the mystery.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Nazca lines (Peru). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Nazca lines. Read more about this site.