In the November of 1999, I was lucky enough to achieve one of my dreams. I took three weeks off work and travelled around Peru. I could have spent longer… hell, I could have upped sticks and settled there! But it was not to be.
Three weeks is nowhere near long enough for visiting a country like Peru, but I consider myself very lucky. I decided I really wanted to trek the Colca canyon and see the condors; I wanted to trek the Inca trail into the Andes to climb to the sacred city in the clouds, Macchu Picchu, and I wanted to fly over the Nazca lines.
And so without further ado, for Ed Mooney’s Heritage Photo Challenge, here are my pictures of the Nazca Lines. You may need to click on the individual images to see the designs more clearly.
I took a lot more, but the light was so bright, the quality, sadly, did not turn out so good. I’d just like to say that in order to see the lines, and to get pictures, I had to take my life in my hands and climb into an ancient knackered old two seater aircraft. It rattled so much and so noisily as it took off, I thought it would disintegrate at any moment, and the wind positively howled and shrieked through holes in the skin so large, you could have punched a fist through. But I wasn’t going to let a heap of little things like that put me off; I’d been waiting years to see these things…
The lines cover a dry plain about 80km wide, and are thought to have been constructed by the Nazca people some time between 500BC and 500AD. They were made by removing the reddish stony top layer and revealing the paler ground beneath. There are animals, birds and fish; plants and flowers, and lots of lines and trapezoids. The largest designs measure more than 2oom across. But why? Why why why?
All kinds of theories have been put forward, but the truth is, no one knows the reason why these lines were made, or what purpose they served. They can of course be seen most clearly from the air, which has led some to speculate about their potential to communicate with aliens, or Gods. However, they can also be seen, albeit less clearly, from the tops of nearby hills. They could be ritual pathways, religious icons, shamanic symbols, they could represent constellations, or perhaps were used in some way as a giant calender.
Personally, I have learned to let go of such desire for scientific evidence and proof. They are shrouded in a fog of mystery we cannot hope to unravel. Whilst we hanker to interpret them and turn them into something mundane instead of magical, how can we enjoy them? How can we truly appreciate their magnificence, and the skill of those who created them, if we continually seek to deny them on the grounds that we can’t explain them?
In the words of a famous song, just let it be.