Podróże małe i duże > Moje odkrycie Ameryki (Peru – Boliwia – Chile)

The Mysterious Nazca Lines

Uczennice z Nazca

Nazca is a small peruvian town of 20 000 inhabitants. It lies on a plateau at 588 meters above sea level. What made it famous were mysterious lines found when aeroplanes started flying above it in the twenties. Many theories about the drawings were created. Erich von Daeniken claims that these are runways built by Indians for some alien civilisation. Others took more effort. It's easy to explain everything that we don't understand with aliens, but it's not the point...


The drawings can be seen from a plane (in 2007 a 35-minute flight costs $401) or from a look-on tower by the Pan American Road. Three figures can be seen from the tower – lizard, tree and hands. Walking in the drawings is forbidden.

NazcaRio NazcaNazcaLinie z Nazca

The most famous explorer of the Nazca lines was dr Maria Reiche, a German mathematician and astronomer. She spent 40 years describing, cataloguing the drawings and trying to explain their meaning. She came to the conclusion, that the lines are the biggest astronomy textbook in the world created by one of the preinka cultures – the Nazca culture – in order to tell the time of sowing and harvest. The drawings predict periodical appearances of different stars and constellations, and the sunsets and sunrises during the spring and autumn equinox and the summer solstice.

Ballena, czyli wielorybPerro, czyli pies

Later studies conducted independently by Gerald Hawkins, Ph D, and Anthony Aveni with a special computer programme undermine this theory.

I'd like to digress a little. While reading about the Nazca lines theories I was astonished to see a remark saying that the similar outcome of Aveni's 1982 study unfortunately gives irrefutable basis to reject Reiche's theory. I don't understand the unfortunately word. If the theory was wrong, the new conclusions are great. The aim of science is getting the Truth and not defending theories, even the most interesting ones...

To sum up, the most probable reason for those lines are religious purposes. They could be of a meaning to the peaceful afterlife of the dead. They could also be a pleading for good harvest or for water. The region is very dry...

The lines were probably created between 300 B.C. and 800 A.D. in an extremely easy way. The plateau is full of stones covered with a dark ferric oxide coating. The ancients threw the gravel away along a formerly marked out line. They unraveled brighter, yellow-white stripes of sand. Thanks to the dry climate and almost no wind, the drawings are still visible.

Trapecio, czyli trapezTrapecios, czyli trapezyTrapecio, czyli trapez
AstronautaEl mono, czyli małpaCondor, czyli kondor
Pájaro, czyli ptakManos, czyli dłonie

Some lines are even 8 km long and they never decline more that 2 meters per km. Altogether they form around 300 drawings. They depict mostly animals. You can see a monkey with a weirdly curved tail, a condor with a wing-span of 130 meters, a lizard (180 meters), a whale, a spider, a humming bird...

Araña, czyli pająkEl colibri, czyli koliberLoro, czyli papugaArbol, czyli drzewoPrawie jak z reklamy

Watching the lines was nothing of an extraordinary experience. The plateau seen from above was more interesting. But the Nazca lines are something you just can't pass by. We had a lot of time to the departure so we decided to check if there is a Plaza de Armas in this town too. Of course there is.]]

Dziewczynka z NazcaDziewczynka z NazcaNazca

The days spent in Peru made me certain that these people won't harm me. I was more and more confident and started venturing less popular corners. This time I got to the end of the buildings. I met two ladies by a shop and they were willing to pose for my photos.

NazcaNazcaUczennice z NazcaUczennice z NazcaPlaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas

At this latitude the day lasts more or less the same time the whole year round. The sun rises around 6 a. m. and sets about 6 p. m. Somehow I couldn't get used to it. I thought that when it's hot the day should last longer. Nevertheless after the sunset we went back to the bus terminal. Along the way we watched whole families having a sort of a supper on the streets.

Witold Wieszczek
Translated by Agnieszka Wąsowska.
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