Do you enjoy visiting unexpected locations while on the road? The Atacama Giant is one of the biggest and oldest geoglyphs in the world, situated in Chile, a nation rich in history. It is the best prehistoric personification that exists now as well as in ancient civilizations according to certain theories, petroglyphs depict gods, shamans, or other supernatural beings.
1. The Atacama Desert – South America
The Atacama Desert is a 600–700-mile (1,100–1,100 km) long, chilly, arid desert in northern Chile. While its borders are unclear, it is mostly located between the mountains that divide the Salado Copiapo River Basin from the southern loop of the Loa River. The desert extends northward to the Peruvian border.
Salt pans near the base of the Coastal Mountains in the west and alluvial fans that slope downward from the base of the Andes Mountains in the east make up the majority of the desert. Although specific compartments are covered in dunes, larger pebble clumps are more typical.
2. What is the Atacama Giant?
In Chile’s Atacama Desert, there is a huge humanoid geoglyph known as the Atacama Giant. One of the almost 5,000 geoglyphs that have been found at Atacama in the past 30 years is the Atacama Giant. It is the world’s biggest ancient human statue, successive cultures of the Atacama desert, at 119 meters (390 feet) tall. The Nazca Lines in Peru, the most well-known line in the world, are located approximately 497 miles (800 kilometres) south of where it is. It shows straight lines emanating from the geoglyph.
The Atacama Desert Chile, the driest nonpolar desert on earth, is where you may find the tall desert god, made by ancient builders which stands tall as the most famous geoglyph. The desert plateau spans Chile’s and Peru’s coastlines for around 1,000 km and provides a beautiful landscape view. A similar landscape may be seen along railroad tracks that pre-Hispanic civilizations built and utilized for llama treks as well as on arid hills, valleys, and plains.
This artwork was used to chart the seasons, enabling ancient architects to foretell the advent of that crucial rainy season, along with the moon, lines on the giant’s headpiece, and other spots on the body. This massive figure rests to tell us the importance of the rain god.
2.1 What is a Geoglyph?
Geoglyphs, for instance, might have provided information about the locations of salt flats, water supplies, and animal food sources. Several of the geoglyphs depict llama caravans, and Spanish chroniclers frequently recount llama migrations. Unfortunately, no caravan equipment was discovered in the actual desert, leaving the meaning of the geoglyphs up in the air.
2.2 History of the Atacama Giant
The Nazca Geoglyph on the coast of Peru is without a doubt the most well-known geoglyph in the whole globe. Yet, there is another collection of equally stunning geoglyphs in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
The Atacama Desert, which stretches across portions of Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, is a high plateau in South America to the west of the Andes Mountains. The driest non-polar desert in the world, it is harsh and desolate. Sand, salt lakes, rocky terrain, and felsic lava moving toward the Andes make up the majority of the desert. A massive geoglyph of the Atacama Giant can be seen in the distance, perched on a hill a great distance away.
Atacama Giant is situated on a hill called “Cerro Unitas”. It is the world’s biggest geoglyph, at 119 meters tall, with a direct and unpretentious design of a square head and extremely fashionable long legs. The giant’s headdress has four lines and other images on all four sides are visible.
The Tiwanaku and the Inca cultures are said to have influenced the creation of these mystical designs by placing patterns of some unearthly features as well. The Atacama Desert’s weather has fortunately allowed these geoglyphs to endure the test of time.
Several hypotheses and explanations exist to explain the particular characteristics of this enormous geoglyph. One of the popular beliefs is, it is a type of calendar that displays the moon’s positions. According to a different theory, the Atacama giant depicts a local divinity, the other theories claim that the giant represents ancient languages, marks for pilgrimage routes, moon detection, and alien visitation, and acts as an astronomical guide. But none of the theories could explain the practical purpose of the giant that could provide successive series of explanations.
2.3 The Function of Atacama Giant
It is important to take into account the Atacama giant’s place in the surrounding terrain and its connections to other desert geoglyphs, to comprehend its purpose. It is believed that the individuals who built the Atacama Desert Lines performed rituals that served symbolic purposes in their lives.
The Atacama Desert geoglyphs’ purpose is still unknown, but there is no doubt that it still has a major influence on the local population and terrain. The geoglyphs are anticipated to be maintained for future generations and their study will one day reveal their secrets.
3. Best Places to Visit in Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama in Chile serves as a stand-in for the whole desert for the majority of international visitors. This is because the bulk of international visitors come to this lovely small oasis hamlet close to the regional mining hub of Calama. Moreover, there is a downtown walkway lined with Andean eateries, craft stands, and adventure gear shops.
3.1 Atacama’s World-Class Surfing
As they are all on the Pacific coast, Atacama’s major cities see significantly either some sort of international visitors or archaeologists. Both Iquique and Arica are excellent surfing locales while the Giant regained its former importance.
3.2 Atacama’s Archeological Treasures
The world’s oldest mummies and Inca ruins kept in the adjacent Azapa Valley also draws archaeology fans to Arica, one of the mysterious geoglyphs. Successive cultures worked to build skyscrapers, a desert Miami atmosphere, and a very sophisticated city around the largest ancient geoglyphs. On the same hill, the most attractive seaside resort farther south is Bahia He Inglesa, which has sugar-white beaches that lead to crystal-clear turquoise waters and attract indigenous cultures.
4. Few Other Ancient Geoglyphs
Here are some other geoglyphs of some unpretentious design:
4.1 The Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines are a collection of prehistoric geoglyphs located in southern Peru’s Nazca Desert. From simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, killer whales, and lizards, hundreds of distinct figures range in intricacy. The lines symbolize ceremonial garb and processions, which were fortified using massive figures and famous geoglyphs.
4.2 Uffington White Horse
A 110 m (374 ft) long, highly stylized prehistoric mound image made of crushed white chalk was called Uffington’s White Horse. In Whitehorse Hill in England, this figure is situated in an uphill location. After a year’s worth of excavations, it was verified. Scientific analysis dates the material taken from the horse’s “beak” to the late Bronze Age.
4.3 Paracas Candelabra
On the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula in Pisco Bay, Peru is a well-known prehistoric geoglyph known as the Paracas Candlestick, also called the Andes Candlestick. Radiocarbon dating dates neighbouring pottery to 200 BC. It was prevalent throughout the Paracas civilization.
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