Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa A Unesco Site Lines of Nasca

Lines and


When Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejía Xesspe hiked through the foothills of Southern Peru in 1926, he had no idea he was about to stumble upon a historical phenomenon– the Nazca lines.

About 400km, or 250 miles, south of Lima lies the geoglyphs of Nasca. Within the coastal area of Peru, and between the Nazca and Inca Valleys, lies a plain where you can find the lines of Nazca. These lines were created in 500BC or 500AD on the surface of the plain.

It’s common to see the Lines of Nazca referred to as the Lines of Nasca, and they are often times used interchangeably depending on the setting.


Nazca Lines



Southern Peru is home to the lines of Nazca These lines, created between 500 BC and 500 AD and located in the Nazca Desert, are the result of depression made in the desert soil. The lines are located on the Pampas de Jumana, which is an 80 km, or 50-mile stretch of a high, arid plateau situated between the Palpa and the Nasca Desert.


It is thought that the Nazca people constructed these lines using simple tools and surveying equipment. Though it’s wildly accepted how these lines were created, the why is still a mystery to historians and archeologists alike. These lines have been preserved due to the naturally dry climate, but throughout time, the winds have to fill out their groves with sand. UNESCO entered the lines of Nasca and Palpa into the World Heritage Site in 1994.


These lines, built more than 2000 years ago by the ancient Nazca people are a representation of the interesting Nazca culture. Some also consider their line the work of the Paracas culture.


Recently, Peru archaeologists have discovered more than 25 geoglyphs in neighboring Palpa, hidden under the desert hillsides. These glyphs were known as the Paracas geoglyphs and like the Lines of Nazca, consisted of lines made from depressions in the desert soil. Though the Paracas geoglyphs are similar in structure, it is estimated they only date back 100 years, unlike the Lines of Nazca, which date back approximately a thousand years.

Paracas was constructed according to the Peruvian Indian culture and also known as the Paracas candelabra.


Lines and Geoglyphs of Nasca and Palpa



Lines of Nazca and Palpa are both considered World Heritage Sites. Located in the coastal plain with a size of around 1,086,000 acres, the Nazca and Palpa are some of the most attractive sites in the world. Though it is frequented today by tourists from around the world, this site was originally considered a traditional religious site to the communities living there between the 8th BC to 8th AD.



Throughout the past 2000 years, many new figures and lines have been discovered, each containing stunning and impressive geometric symbols.

These lines are considered a great symbol of social culture and remain unmodified today.

There are many geoglyphs in the great world, but no one matches the level of Nazca lines.


Glyphs are of two types of groups:

  • The first group, it is a symbolic and schematic variety and reflects aspects of nature, including an array of natural living creatures like plants, animals, and many more.
  • The second group represents primarily straight lines and has crisscrossed pampas in almost all directions. It forms many geometrical shapes like spirals, waves, triangles, and many others.


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