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Facts about the Mysterious Nazca Lines

Cyna Bhathena
The Nazca Lines are an exquisite archaeological wonder, from over 1500 years ago, that were discovered only 86 years back! While the chunk of its secrets remains a mystery till date, this Mysticurious write-up gives you a glimpse of the facts that are known far.

Did You Know?

Some believe the Nazca Lines are "alien runway marks", while considering the Peruvian plateau to be some sort of an alien airport! Another landing point few miles away (somewhat like a helipad!) is the Palpa Mountains, which is exactly flat, as though perfectly cut off by high-end machinery.

The Nazca Lines are ancient lines and drawings etched into the Peruvian desert plateau. A World Heritage site since 1994, the Nazca Lines span over several kilometers, and majority of the drawings are visible only from an aerial view. You could be standing atop one, and you wouldn't have the slightest clue!

Historians and archaeologists have been able to guess how old these magnificent drawings are, but much else remains in the dark for now. How they came into existence and what purpose were they made for are questions that we can only estimate at this point of time. Due to the lack of substantial evidence, these lines remain a mysterious yet beautiful wonder.

Their discovery was only by chance, and we're lucky to witness this antique marvel as the lines are superficial and prone to erosion by natural elements. This story walks you through some interesting facts about the Nazca Lines.

Location of Nazca Lines

The famous Nazca Lines are located in the harsh Peruvian desert, Pampa Colorada (Red Plain).

Tourist Destination

The UNESCO named the Nazca Lines as a World Heritage site in 1994. Ever since, it is flocked by tourists and researchers alike.

Made By

Most archaeologists believe that that these lines were engraved by the once-native, ancient Nazca Indians.

When Were They Created?

Based on carbon dating analysis of the discovered evidence, the markings are assumed to be created between 800 BC to 800 AD.


The Nazca Lines were first spotted in 1927 by an archaeologist, Toribio Mejia Xesspe who happened to be hiking in the surrounding foothills.

Later in 1940, a historian named Paul Kosok flew over the lines and was the first one to notice that they formed different shapes and weren't drawn at random. This sparked his interest, as he began to implore further into these mystical geoglyphs. Maria Reiche, an archaeologist-cum-mathematician, joined him in his quest and studied the lines extensively.

How Were They Made?

A widely accepted theory is that the Nazca Indians used simple tools like wooden stakes to carve these lines into the desert plateau. The plateau is covered with red pebbles that blanket the whitish underlying ground. Thus, the markings are distinct and contrast the plateau's natural copper finish.


These remarkable lines are spread across an area of 500 square kilometers.


These lines have stood the test of time owing to extreme climatic conditions in the Peruvian desert. The area is bone dry, lacks wind, and maintains a standard average temperature frame of 25┬░ C. With the plateau being preserved from erosion, the Nazca Lines have naturally remained intact and are distinctly visible even today.

The Lines or 'drawings'

These ground carvings vary from normal geometrical shapes to other human as well as animal figures. The drawings are on a massive scale; for example, the famous 'Condor' stretches to a shocking 143 meters in length.

Why Were They Made?

The purpose of these magnificent lines can only guessed at for now. While there have been many theories ranging from alien markings, religious practices (deity worship) to textile looms, none have any considerable evidence to back them.
The most widely accepted one, nevertheless, is that the Nazca Indians made these markings as an offering to please the Gods and lure them into giving water. Considering that the area is dry and parched, this does make sense to some extent.

Perennial Lines?

The lines are fairly superficial and are up to 30 cm deep. While the weather conditions are favorable for preservation, the markings can live on. However, any sudden climatic change that results in heavy rains will cause severe damage to these markings.


There are countless random intersecting lines on the plateau. While all of them do not have any known significance at the moment, researchers believe that among these lines is a labyrinth. Unlike the rest, it is not meant for aerial appearance. Instead, one is supposed to walk over it for spiritual enlightenment!