NAZCA


The small town of Nazca is located in a dry desert region on the southern coast of Peru. Nazca is also the name given to the Nazca culture which flourished there between the first to eighth centuries AD. Nazca itself is a typical quiet oasis town, but the1927 discovery of the Nazca Lines in the nearby Pampas has brought many archeologists and other visitors to the area. Today thousands of tourists visit the town each year to take light aircraft flights over the mysterious lines.

NAZCA HIGHLIGHTS
The Nazca Lines - Beginning in around 400 BC the Nazca people etched an enormous network of stylized lines and figures into the desert floor. Amongst the figures represented are various birds, a monkey, an ant, a fish and a series of parallel lines and geometric patterns. The whole site covers a surface area of about 500 square meters. The lines are complex designs, some up to 300m long, and are best appreciated from the sky.
Theories abound regarding the purpose of these mysterious etchings, ranging from landing strips for aliens to giant seismographs. One of the more probable theories was offered by the late German researcher Maria Reiche who studied the area for more than fifty years and believed it to be a vast astronomic calendar whose figures marked different solar phases. Others, however, strongly disagree, the archaeologist John Reinhard believes that they were sacred paths, while new theories claim that they are related to an underground water system, or to shamanic rituals. Whatever the true intentions were behind the creation of the Nazca lines, they are an engaging spectacle and continue to spark debate to this day.

Chauchilla Cemetery - About 30km south of Nazca is an extensive valley of tombs from the Inca-Chincha period (A.D. 1000-1400). This vast necropolis consists of thousands of graves containing the remains of the ancient Nazca people. These remains are impressively well preserved due to the natural mummification process provided by the arid desert climate. While only a small number of the underground tombs are exposed for visitors, they paint a vivid picture of this ancient culture.

Antonioni Museum – Opened in 1999 this interesting museum holds many insights into the area!s fascinating ancient history, with displays of well preserved ceramics and textiles along with photos of the process of the excavation of the lines.

Cerro Blanco Dune – This huge sand dune overlooking the town is said to be the highest in the world at 2078m. It!s a great place to try your hand at sand boarding or paragliding.

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

El Huarango
One of Nazca´s better restaurants, El Huarango is located in a two-storey building with a rooftop terrace. The restaurant specializes in Creole cuisine. The best tables are on the terrace which offers great views. Open daily from 11.30am – 10pm. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $6-$15
Address: Jr. Arica 602 Tel: 056-521-287

La Taberna
A popular restaurant with a varied and international menu, try the spicy fish, Pescado a lo Macho, or one of the good-quality vegetarian dishes. There is also live music most evenings. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $10-$20
Address: Jr. Lima 321. Tel: 056-806-783