Ica is one of Peru´s 24 departments, which is located on Peru´s Pacific Coast, just a few hours South of Lima, in the Ica River Valley, between Ica´s “Gran Tablazo” (Great Plain) and the Occidental slopes of the Andes´ Cordillera, where Pisco; the country´s National Drink is produced, and the highest dunes allow for great snowboarding downhill fun, while extensive desert areas invite you to go for a mad ride aboard a tubular buggy. Then, the Huacachina Lagoon is an oasis to be visited, to relax and delight in paradise, in the middle of the desert. Finally, Ica is a great place to discover and observe marine fauna, on and off the coast.
It was on these sandy lands that important civilizations and cultures flourished which left their marks that overcame the passing of time and strong desert winds, way before the Incas, such as the Nazcas (300 b.C. – 1000 a.D.), Paracas (600 b.C. – 200 a.D.), Chinchas (9th – 15th century) and, finally, these were integrated by the Incas, in their fast growing empire of the Tahuantinsuyu, between the 15th and 16th centuries.
Paracas National Reserve and Enigmatic Nazca Lines
The Paracas National Reserve
It was declared as such on September 25 of 1975, in order to conserve part of Peru´s marine territory and coastal area, and to protect the wild species of flora and fauna that live there, such as seals, penguins of Humboldt that are in danger of extinction, or guano birds, like the piquero, guanay, pelican and other important species.
It also conserves a representative sample of marine ecosystems belonging to the cold Humboldt Sea Current considered by specialists, as the world´s most productive in marine fauna and flora, and helps maintaining the life zones and areas used by a broad diversity of migratory species, for their alimentation and refuge, in the course of their long annual journeys.
“The Nazca Lines´ Secret”
One of our planet´s mysteries is hidden in the Pampa of Nazca, where hundreds of lines and geometrical forms, along with clearly drawn stylized designs of plants, animals and even human shapes occupy great extensions of desert areas.
In the course of the 20th century, scientists, like María Reiche, carefully studied their elaboration technique, by means of which our ancient astronomers had these lines and figures traced on the ground of plains, mountains and cliffs, without deviating from their original direction, as the longest of these lines runs for about 9 kilometers (5 miles).
Given the nature of the soil, it is very easy to explain how these lines and designs were traced, as the desert ground is composed of brown-colored metaliferous rocks. Just a few centimeters below these, there are yellowish-colored sediments made-up of clay, sand and natural plaster that were part of the sea bottom, millions of years ago.
If you remove the superficial stones, you´ll clearly see the lighter-colored underlying layer that displays a neat contrast increased by the shadow of the rocks that form the edges of the lines and shapes that can clearly be seen, even from great altitude.
These designs were produced during the Nazca Culture´s period, between 200 b.C. and 800 a.D. and, still today, their meaning and purpose have not yet been fully deciphered. There are suppositions that some of these lines were traced for astronomical purposes, and that these drawings could be symbolic representations of constellations, in such a way that the shape of the “Monkey” could represent the Great Bear or Big Dipper´s Constellation, or that the “Spider” could symbolize that of Orion, and that the drawing of the “Dog” could be the Canis Major´s Constellation.
“Dr. María Reiche Association – Nazca Lines and Figures/Peru”
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