Welcome to Nazca & Around
It’s hard to say the word ‘Nazca’ without following it immediately with the word ‘Lines,’ a reference not just to the ancient geometric lines that crisscross the Nazca desert, but to the enigmatic animal geoglyphs that accompany them. Like all great unexplained mysteries, these great etchings on the pampa, thought to have been made by a pre-Inca civilization between AD 450 and 600, attract a variable fan base of archaeologists, scientists, history buffs, New Age mystics, curious tourists, and pilgrims on their way to (or back from) Machu Picchu.
Question marks still hang over how they were made and by whom, and the answers are often as much wild speculation as pure science (aliens? prehistoric balloonists?). Documented for the first time by North American scientist Paul Kosok in 1939 and declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1994, the lines today are the south coast’s biggest tourist attraction meaning the small otherwise insignificant desert town of Nazca can be a bit of a circus.
Greenpeace Did What to the Nazca Lines?
The earth does deserve a voice, but for many Peruvians, and world citizens, the Greenpeace action on December 8, 2014 that placed a message – 'Time For Change! The Future is Renewable. Greenpeace' – in large yellow letters next to the iconic hummingbird biomorphic geoglyph in the Nazca Lines was an act of vandalism, causing irreperable damage to a World Heritage Site.Since the action, which was designed to call the attention of world leaders attending a UN Climate Summit in Lima, Greenpeace has issued apologies, and three of the 20 people taking part have been publicly accused (with Greenpeace releasing the names of four more participants in hopes of having charges dropped for journalists that covered the brash environmental action).Because of the delicate nature of these mysterious formations that date back 1500 years, nobody is permitted to walk on the Nazca Lines complex (these rules apply to backpackers and presidents). Only using special weight-dispersing padded shoes do archeaologists enter the site.And while Greenpeace points out that activists did not walk on the geoglyph itself, they did overturn rocks. Recent drone flights reveal disrupted areas where the protesters (or vandals depending on how you look at it) entered the site, and you can see remnants of the letter C. International outrage swirled around the incident. The Peruvian government is now looking at ways to restore the site and criminal proceedings are ongoing. It certainly leaves a lasting imprint on the global debate surrounding environmental protection, but how that legacy will be viewed is certainly up for interpretation.