The journey continues, headed south from Ica to a flight over the Nazca lines. Supposedly these ancient desert glyphs were created between 400 and 650 AD. Scientists say that due to the arid nature of the environment and the lack of wind these are able to survive. Most of the lines are only 10 to 15 cm deep. When the reddish top rocks are removed they contrast with the lighter colored earth beneath, allowing the lines to be visible. The soil under is heavy in lime which solidifies with the morning mists, allowing the lines to harden and preserve. Hmmm, I am admittedly skeptical. I spoke with one Peruvian who believes they do “clean” the lines at times. This seems more reasonable. Then there is the debate over whether they are remnants of the Nazca culture, or alien landing strips. We may never know, but at least it makes for some fun conversations.
The long straight lines were created with basic surveying equipment, evidenced by wooden stakes found at the ends of some of the lines.
It’s a bit hard to get good pictures of the lines from the small airplane that flew us over the desert, but those were the best.
Now, on to Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru. Arequipa is also known as the White City for the white stone used to construct many of its buildings. The snow capped volcano El Misti lies in its background. We visited the Santa Catalina Monastery which is really like a huge walled city within the city. It used to house predominately wealthy nuns and a lot of servants. Now only a handful of nuns remain and the rest is open to the public.
Next up is a visit to the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world, for an incredible trek. Stay tuned and thanks for visiting!