some culture to add to our resumé
14.01.2013 - 17.01.2013 -34 °C
We thought be might never arrive in Nasca. Mid way on our journey, our bus stopped in the middle of the road on the outskirts of a little village. Some locals had placed large boulders across the road in protest over something. Apparently, the Peruvians like to protest. Eventually after a few hours the police arrived and removed the road block and on we went arriving at our hotel at 11.30pm instead of 8pm, tired and drained but still in one piece. I think that calls for a beer or two!!!!!!!!!
Nasca is a little town on the Pan American highway which runs down the west of South America along the Andes moutain range. In the 1940s, when commerical flights started to fly over the area, pilots noticed lines and patterns in the desert. Then in the 1950s, a german woman called Maria Reiche, a German mathematician and archaeologicalist, came to Nasca and devoted the rest of her life to the study of the lines. No one really knows why they were constructed but it is believed that they both point towards scarce water resources and are aligned with various constellations in the night sky. Either way they are amazing as they can only be appreciated from above and how these people could conceive such patterns which can only be seen from above is anyone's guess. The lines were constructed between 400 and 650AD and comprise a series of ancient geoglyphs and are designated as a Unesco world heritage site since 1984. The whole area was most likely used for worship, prayer for rain and fertility rituals. The lines are formed by a shallow trench with a depth of between 10cm and 15cm. Such trenches were made by removing the reddish/brown iron oxide coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca derest.
Being on a budget we thought we would do the cheapo version and see the lines from viewing platforms, but then we thought, what the hell, we will never be in Nasca again, and booked a flight to see the lines from above where they are best appreciated. Boy was it worth it. We flew in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk which is a 4 seater, single engine aeroplane. By jobe could the manouvreability make your stomach turn.
Let the pictures tell the story.
Nasca is not only about the lines. The area is rich is archaeology and culture left by the ancient Nascans
Since 1997, Nazca has been the location of a major Canadian gold mining operation. The people who were living on the land for the previous 2000 years did not have title to the land, so they were displaced without legal problems.
Nazca is one of the driest places in the world with average annual precipitation up to 25 millimeters. Nazca's weather is controlled by the Humboldt Current which carries water from Antarctica up the west coast of South America. This cold ocean water cools the marine air and limits the accumulation of moisture within clouds, as a result though clouds and fog are able to form there is little rain and the region is exceptionally arid. in fact there was only 20 minutes of light drizzle in the year 2012.
We visited Chauchilla Cemetery which contains prehispanic mummified human remains and archeological artifacts, located 30 kilometres south of the city of Nazca. The cemetery was discovered in the 1920s, but had not been used since the 9th century AD. The cemetery includes many important burials over a period of 600 to 700 years. The start of the interments was in about 200 AD. The cemetery has been extensively plundered by grave robbers who have left human bones and pottery scattered around the area. The site has been protected by Peruvian law since 1997. In 1997, the majority of the scattered bones and plundered pottery were restored to the tombs. The bodies are so remarkably preserved due mainly to the dry climate in the Peruvian Desert but the funeral rites were also a contributing factor. The bodies were clothed in embroidered cotton and then painted with a resin and kept in purpose-built tombs made from mud bricks. The resin is thought to have kept out insects and slowed bacteria trying to feed on the bodies.