A Vacation in Peru: A South American Vacation of Mystery
A vacation in Peru is the definitive South American holiday of mystery. For Peru is a mystery; a holiday here will bring history alive, but the more you discover, the more mysterious it becomes. Perhaps this is because of the sheer scales involved.
Peru was home to early civilisations, of which plenty of evidence is visible today, more than 13,000 years ago! It is no surprise, therefore, that the deep gulf in time which separates us from the early Peruvians creates unfathomable mysteries and legends which reach from the gods to colossal empire of man, from ritual temples to alien civilisations from the stars!
It was the Norte Chico civilisation which has left more behind for us to see today, and your holiday here will undoubtedly let you explore the ruins of this mighty civilisation, which lived around 5,000 years ago – comparable with much of Egypt’s history. However, when anyone mentions Peru, one name springs to mind; one name which draws from our childhood well of whispered secrets and the magical unknown: the Incas.
The Inca civilisation was massive, conquering a huge portion of the globe, and resulting in the largest empire to exist for thousands of years – up until the Spanish conquests. This mighty civilisation has left an abundance of fascinating relics, temples, buildings, foundations, and structures which defy full understanding even today. Your vacation in Peru will allow you to explore these, and if you are fortunate enough to be able to acquire the luxury of a good guide, they will be able to help you uncover much of the background to the awe-inspiring shadows we see today.
Your history books from school days may well have covered the Incan empire, but pictures in dry books cannot even begin to compare to the breathtaking legacy of such sites as Machu Picchu. The Incan empire fell at the hands of the Spanish just before the Columbian period of America’s history, and much of the Inca temples, buildings and settlements were destroyed, their treasures plundered.
However, because Machu Picchu was built high up in the mountains, on a ledge that was not visible from lower down, it seems to have escaped, unscathed, as the Spanish never knew it existed and never found it. For this reason, it holds a particular fascination, since it was entirely forgotten about, and only re-discovered relatively recently: in 1911 to be exact. This ancient citadel of buildings, temples, tombs and rooms offers grandeur, beauty and mystery that will certainly be a feature of your holiday which will stay with you for a very long time.
However, your mystery history holiday in South America doesn’t end there! The adventures are only beginning. A vacation in Peru will feel more like an adventure, or a series of questions, than a planned and prepared vacation to a country born in the fires of modern times. As proof, make sure that you book a flight over the plains of Nazca. Although a visit on the ground will be astonishing, it is from the air that one can fully appreciate the ingenuity, scale and passion of the early Peruvian settlements.
The Nazca carvings, drawings or geoglyphs, as they are called, are astonishing works of art – stylised artistic representations of many different animals, including birds, monkeys, lizards and fish, as well as a number of lines, channels and mathematical shapes. These are what make a South American holiday truly a vacation of mystery. The most mysterious aspect of these, and one which will certainly amaze you as you look down on to these images, is their sheer scale.
These geoglyphs in the Nazca plains are huge, the largest being 270 meters long, and the area covered by these images is more than 500 square kilometers. The question will undoubtedly rise in your mind, as it has in so many of those who have come this way before - why are they this size? Clearly, they could not be seen from the ground, and were only discovered in 1939 because they can be seen only from the air; from the air and built during an era long before man was able to fly. If that is not a mystery then what is?
Were they works of art created solely to please the gods who look down on them? Were they an early astronomical observatory? Some have suggested that they were created, or viewed, by using early methods of flight, such as a balloon filled with air. If so, this is extraordinary, preceding any other form of flight by an astonishing chunk of any history book. Still others have seen them as evidence of interaction with a race from the stars... but you will have to make up your own mind, and help unravel this mystery.
The capital city of the Incas was Cusco, a modern and vibrant city which holds its heritage very close to its heart. The Temple of the Sun, and the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun are both well worth a visit, as is the magnificent cathedral of Santo Domingo. Many of the original Inca buildings are still standing – testament to the strength, design and construction of this once mighty empire.
A vacation in Peru is truly a South American holiday of mystery. Every day will be spent brushing shoulders with history, every corner you turn reveals another mystery. You will visit Peru with many questions; you will leave with many more.
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