The Candelabra is an engraving in the desert of Paracas that is believed to be over 2000 years old. From Wikipedia:

The Paracas Candelabra, also called the Candelabra of the Andes, is a well-known prehistoric geoglyph found on the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula at Pisco Bay in Peru. Pottery found nearby has been radio carbon dated to 200 BCE, the time of the Paracas culture. The design is cut two feet into the soil, with stones possibly from a later date placed around it. The figure is 595 feet tall, large enough to be seen 12 miles at sea.

It is preserved by a quirk of the wind movements within Paracas. According to French writer and explorer Robert Charroux:

However, an expedition by the French writer Robert Charroux in 1969, noted that, although the mountainside was exposed to the wind, the wind contained no dust or sand. Chatroux thus concluded that the trident carving could have been drawn millennia ago and yet still have avoided any significant erosion.

It is one of many Geoglyphs in the Atacama desert that stretches from the southern coast of Peru, into the Andes, and south through Chile. Within this region, there are estimated to be over 5,000 Geoglyphs. These include the famous Nazca lines, but also many designs in the Andes as well as along the Chilean coast.


Theory 1: Navigation Aid For Sailors

One theory goes that the candelabra is a beacon for sailors. Writer Tony Morrison espoused this theory in his book, Pathways To The Gods.

The evidence for this is based on local folklore passed down from fishermen - they have used the site for centuries for orientation.

Theory 2: Dedication To The Holy Trinity

Exactly which Trinity may be a good question, but the conquistadors believed it was a tribute to the Holy Trinity:

Some writers repeat a statement that Conquistadors believed the Candelabra to represent the Holy Trinity, interpreting it as a good omen, although they do not (as usual) give an authority for these comments. The same Conquistadors are said to have discovered a huge rope inside the central branch and indications that other cords and ropes had been connected to the other outer two arms; von Däniken speculates that they were part of a system of pulleys. The writer Beltrán García is quoted by Robert Charroux (1909-1978) (again, typically, without reference) as suggesting that it may have been “a gigantic and precise seismograph, able to register telluric waves and seismic shocks coming not only from Peru, but from all over the planet…”

Theory 3: Dedication To Hallucenogenic Drugs

This one may be even more of a stretch. The writer Frank Joseph, who traveled and wrote extensively on interesting phenomena in the Americas, believed the geoglyph resembles the psychedlic drug Jimson:

Instead, the “crucifix” turned out to be one of the mysterious geoglyphs the Spaniards called the Candelabra. Some 200 feet long and visible for more than 12 milesout to sea from the Paracas coast, it actually represents a mounted jimson weed, revered by the ancient Peruvians for its hallucinogenic qualities.

How To Get There

Theories aside, the Candelabra is very cool sight to see, and is best experienced from the water. Excursions are easy to find - operators take you by the Candelabra on the way to the beautiful Ballestas islands, home to seemingly thousands of penguins and sea lions, among other wildlife.

Paracas itself is a short ride down the Panamericana Sur from Lima - about 263 kilometers.

Recommended way to travel is by bus, but renting a car and even plane travel to the Pisco airport is possible.

Atlas Obscura
Ancient Origins
Geoglyphs of The Andes
Atacama Glyphs
Hill Figures Around The World With Nephrology

John Kelvie // 18 September 2016