Archaeological travels: Nazca Lines

The Inca Trail isn’t the only grand scale ancient cultural treasure in Peru. Arguably, it may not even be the most magnificent.

Terra firma … A geoglyph up close

According to scholars, created by between 400 and 650 AD, the Nazca Lines are a series of large motifs (geoglyphs) etched into Peru’s Nazca Desert.

Alien aircraft landing strip … A Nazca Desert geoglyph

Spread across the high and arid plateau, the many hundreds of geoglyphs range in complexity, from simple lines to complex and stylized hummingbirds, spiders and monkeys – the largest of which stretches over 660 feet.

Along came a spider … Nazca Lines, Peru

The Nazca culture created each line by removing the shallow red-colored surface of the desert, uncovering a much lighter, near white-colored bedrock beneath.

In a flap … Hummingbird Nazca Line, Peru

A definitive interpretation of their purpose is yet to be reached – proposed explanations include religious tributes, irrigation schemes, astronomical calendars and even landing strips for alien aircraft.

Monkeying around … Nazca Lines, Peru

These giant formations are undoubtedly best seen from the air. Arrange a light aircraft tour locally at Nazca airport. A 40-minute flight including transfers to and from Nazca costs in the region of $120.

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

(Images: Einbecker, cspruit, nwhitford, Scubaben, leliebloem)

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