TOP FACTS

The Nazca Lines are a series of geometric, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic shapes in the Nazca desert. Only visible from the air, the figures number in the hundreds and vary in complexity from geometric shapes to lines.

Here are some Nazca Lines facts for curious readers. The land where the lines are located spreads across 520 km and some of these lines extend over 800 km. Located between the towns of Nazca and Palpa in southern Peru. Scholars believe they were drawn on the land surface by the Nazca Culture between 200 BC and 500 AD, but the exact purpose of their construction is still under debate.

For centuries, locals and visitors did not understand the full extent of the lines as they were only visible from overhead, meaning they were not discovered until after the invention of the airplane when pilots began reporting unusual drawings carved into the desert below. Since then, the Nazca Lines info have become a source of wonder and fascination all around the world.

The region’s climate is dry and hot, it rains infrequently and receives relentless sun. This arid climate is ideal for perfectly preserving these archaeological treasures. Despite these perfect conditions, the Nazca Lines can still suffer the effects of erosion and other forms of natural destruction. Scholars believe there were originally far more geoglyphs than currently visible. Recently a storm uncovered another two animal figures of a snake and llama.

Where are the Nazca Lines?

The Nazca Lines are located in southern Peru in the Nazca Desert, a dry plateau or pampa that stretches for 37 miles along the Pacific coast. The Nazca desert is one of the driest and most sparsely-populated places on Earth.

he Nazca Lines themselves cover an estimated 450 square kilometers. They are located ijust over 200 miles southeast of Lima, between the towns of Nazca and Palpa. Check out our How to Get There page for more info.

NAZCA CULTURE

The origins of the Nazca Culture can be traced back nearly 2,000 years. It is thought to have been heavily influenced by the Paracas Culture which was centered in the nearby Pisco and Ica Valleys. In many ways, the Nazca Culture was merely a continuation of the Paracas Culture which came before it. This is especially evident in their religious traditions and weaving technology, both of which bear strong traces of Paracas Culture influence. This interpretation is reinforced by regional art and architecture, which also shows similarities between the Nazca Culture and its predecessor.

Archaeologists’ largest find in the area is Cahuachi, the so-called “Lost City of the Line Builders.” This ancient city was built nearly two thousand years ago but was abandoned mysteriously about 500 years later. The site contains over 40 mounds (including adobe pyramids) and also overlooks several famous Nazca geoglyphs.

The Nazca people would make pilgrimage to Cahuachi for special ceremonies and rituals. Although the permanent population of the area has been determined to be quite small, there were an estimated 25,000 people present during major ceremonial events. Archeologists have also found a darker side to the Nazca culture by digging in the area. The discovery of several necropolises revealed a number of gruesome deaths which were carried out as a ritual sacrifice.

Among other things, the Nazca Culture was especially known for the distinctive features of their pottery and weaving, which was decorated with geometric and mythological patterns, plants and animals. Many of these themes are mirrored in the famous geoglyphs found at the Nazca Lines site.

Nazca Lines Geoglyphs

These famous figures spread across the Nazca plain like a giant puzzle left by ancient peoples. Varied in terms of shape, size and complexity, in total there are 300 geometric figures, 70 animal and plant drawings (also known as biomorphs) and 800 straight lines. Some of the most well-known geoglyphs are as follows:

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