They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana about 400 km south of Lima.
Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas motifs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD. The hundreds of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, and lizards.
The first mention of the Nazca lines in print was by Pedro Cieza de León in his book of 1553, where he mistook them for trail markers. Interest in them lapsed until the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe spotted them while he was hiking through the foothills in 1927. Although partially visible from the surrounding foothills, the full designs cannot be truly appreciated unless viewed from the sky.
With the developments in web technologies, mapping systems and the integration of satellite imagery using GeoEye, archaeological sites across the world are now visible in Google Maps.
Header Image : Martin St-Amant