Cahuachi – Nazca, Peru - Atlas Obscura

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Nazca pilgrimage site covering 370 acres is a popular stop for archeologists and looters. 


Cahuachi was once one of the most important and largest ceremonial centers for the Nazca culture in Peru. Covering 0.6 sq. miles (1.5 square kilometers) and containing over 40 mounds providing a base to adobe structures, the area is thought to have been a pilgrimage site, its population ebbing and flowing in relation to ceremonial events.

Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Orefici has been heading excavation and research of the site for several decades, and American archeologist Helaine Silverman has also studied the site extensively throughout the years. Their findings have supported the theories that this area was not the bustling capital of the state of Nazca as previously thought, but a place for people to gather in prayer.

While it may have been a sacred place in ancient times, it now often falls prey to looters, who find the burial site rich with artifacts too tempting to ignore. Cahuachi overlooks some of the Nazca Lines, an intriguing archeological mystery that Orefici is sure Cahuachi holds the key to.

Still delivering mummies, artifacts, jewelry and priceless information about the civilization from 1500 years ago, these seemingly plain ruins are a fascinating spot to tour in Peru, and provide a window into a mystical past still being uncovered.

Know Before You Go

Cahuachi Ceremonial Center is in the Nazca River Valley, 28 km from the town of that name. Many tours are available through various tour companies.

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