Video: Flight over the Nazca Lines, Peru

The Nazca lines are a series of mysterious 2000 year-old drawings cut into the the stony floor of the Nazca desert in Southern Peru. There are many hundreds of them, and they include animal figures, people, an astronaut and various geometric shapes and lines.

There are many theories as to their origin, some of which include: religious iconography, guidance for flying/tripping shamans, race tracks, irrigation channels, art for ancient hot air balloonists, and that they were part of a giant alien landing site – this theory is obviously supported by the presence of a 2000 year old astronaut figure.

Due to their size, they are best viewed from the air in a small plane – half hour flights go from Nazca airport and cost $55 include airport tax.

This short video was made on a slightly terrifying flight over Nazca. As it may be hard to see some of the figures in the video, you may want to have a look at the accompanying photos.


More Photos of Nazca lines
Podcast from Southern Peru
Wikipedia on the Nazca Lines
Note: If in this video it is hard to see the Nazca lines, you could try the version in our YouTube account directly as it is larger.

Podcast: North Peru

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This podcast covers Northern Peru, starting at Chiclayo I head out on a tour to the 1500 year old Moche ruins at Sipan. Following this, I head three hours down the coast to the town of Trujillo, where I visit the Chimu city of Chan Chan, the largest Adobe (mud) city in the World and around 1300AD home to 60,000 people.

Podcast from North Peru

Just outside Trujillo, and near to Chan Chan are the Huacas (sacred places) of the sun and moon – Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol. These structures are also Moche adobe pyramids from about 800AD, and Huaca del Sol is the largest single pre-Colombian structure in Peru – built from an estimated 140 million adobe bricks.

I finish the podcast in Huanchaco, 12km north of Trujillo. Huanchaco is a fishing town of about 12,000 inhabitants, that has now become well known thanks to three things – its reed fishing boats, its lovely beach and its fabulous surfing.


Photos of Sipán and its treasure
Photos of the adobe city of Chan Chan
Photos of Huanchaco beach
(More photos coming soon)

Video: North Peru

This short video shows some of the landscapes, beaches and archaeological sites of Northern Peru. The beginning of the video was filmed on the Piura – Chiclayo bus heading through the Sechura desert, before arriving in Trujillo and heading to the 1500 year old Huaca del Sol and Huaca de La Luna, two adobe temples built by the Moche and Chimu people around 500AD.

The Huaca del Sol (visible in the background during the landscape shot from high up) is the largest single pre-Colombian structure in Peru built from an estimated 140 million Adobe (mud) bricks.

Following this, I head to Pimentel beach, near Chiclayo, before heading three hours South to Huanchaco, a small fishing town and one of the best surfing destinations in Peru.

Thanks to Brian Eno and one of my favourite ever tracks – An Ascent – for providing the music. I know this infringes copyright, but to compensate, you can buy the MP3 here for $0.99.

Sipan, North Peru

In 1987 archaeologists made a remarkable find in Sipan, 30km South East of Chiclayo in Northern Peru. Under what at first appeared to be a couple of giant piles of mud, they found several Moche tombs and hundreds of dazzling artifacts in Gold, Silver, Bronze as well as one of the finest collections of pre-Colombian ceramics in the Americas.

Sipan, Peru

The story behind the discovery is perhaps as fascinating as the place itself. Archaeologist Doctor Walter Alva suddenly noticed an influx of amazingly intricate Moche artifacts on the international black market. Some of these were intercepted by the FBI in Miami as they were smuggled into the States. He immediately realised that a huge Moche burial site had been found in Peru and was in the process of being ransacked, probably by local farmers.

The giant mud hills pictured above were of course not made by pre-Colombian termites, but by the Moche people around AD300. Originally they were huge truncated pyramids made from millions of Adobe bricks, but over the years erosion has taken its toll, hiding the pyramids from everyone – including thankfully from the Spanish Conquistadors.

The most fascinating tomb of all, was that of the Lord of Sipan who was found buried with huge amounts of gold and jewellery, most of which is now in the excellent museum Tumbes Reales at Lambayeque (a short distance from Chiclayo)

Who were the Moche?

Everyone has heard of the Incas, who took control of Peru around 1500AD, but very few people have heard of the Peruvian Cultures preceding the Incas – including the Huaca Prieta, Chavin, Moche, Sica and Chimu. Moche culture evolved from around 200BC and lasted to about AD 850.

The Moche loved building Adobe pyramids, and made some of the most creative ceramics in the Americas, depicting the organisation of their society as well as religion.

Photos of Sipan and some of the treasure

A Peruvian hairless dog

Here’s a photo of a very bald but rather sweet Peruvian hairless dog looking a bit sleepy at Huaca Arco Iris temple, in Trujillo, Northern Peru.

Peruvian Hairless Dog

This is an ancient breed. Although it is often perceived to be an Incan dog because it is known to have been kept during the Inca Empire, they were also kept as pets in pre-Inca cultures from the Peruvian coastal zone. Ceramic hairless dogs from the Chimú, Moche, and Vicus culture are well known. Depictions of Peruvian hairless dogs appear around 750 A.D. on Moche ceramic vessels and continue in later Andean ceramic traditions.

Read more about the Peruvian Hairless dog on Wikipedia

Piura, Northern Peru

Piura, a hot and dusty city in Northern Peru, was founded in 1532, three years before Lima. I was out developing mild heat stroke today, whilst wandering around some of the back streets, and came across a set of interesting murals – including the one pictured below of Jesus.

Jesus Christ in Piura, Peru

The Lonely Planet says the following about Piura:

After several hours of crossing the vast emptiness of the Sechura Desert, Piura materializes like a mirage on the horizon, enveloped in quivering waves of heat. It’s hard to ignore the sense of physical isolation forced on you by this unforgiving environment…the scorching Summer months (now) will have you honing your radar for air conditioning as you seek out chilled venues in which to soothe your sweltering skin.

That just about sums it up, although my radar and my bank balance failed me on the air conditioning front, and I’m currently sitting here with a head like a tomato and a high velocity fan blowing a tornado over me.

I need sea!