Weekly Snapshot: The Paracas Candelabra

Paracas Candelabra

The Candelabra – Paracas, Peru

In Paracas lies the Candelabra or “Candelabro“, a giant figure etched into a desert sandy hill, similar to the Nazca Lines.  It is assumed that the Paracas people, who formed a well-developed culture from about 1300 BC until 200 AD –long before the time of the Inca civilization– did this figure.

The reason behind the famous candelabra carving is unknown, but one of the theories states that this mysterious and enigmatic symbol was used as a nautical guide –several centuries ago– to help ships find or avoid the bay.   But in the end, we’re still not sure who made this drawing or what does it means.

This figure is 50 meters long and is carved up to 2 meters deep into the sandy slope of a cliff overlooking the sea.  The lines have endured the pass of time, overcoming erosion by wind and water, due to the fact that the candelabra was carved onto a hill where the shape of the hill pushes the wind up and over the lines, never directly against the lines. Plus, small amounts of minerals from the ocean water fall into the candelabra, which hardens it.

The best way to see this figure is by taking the boat ride to Ballestas Island, just a couple miles off the Paracas shore.

Even though it is famously known as the candelabra, there is a possibility this drawing represents a cactus.

What do you say, does it looks more like a candelabra or a cactus?

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23 thoughts on “Weekly Snapshot: The Paracas Candelabra”

  1. I think i know what it can be. Not a candelabra and not a cactus, but an ancient symbol.
    I’ve seen similar figures in other places and in books.
    And I think I suspect why the left arm differs from the right arm.
    But I’m not sure.

    1. Thank you Steve! hmmm, an ancient symbol… I would like to research more about that. I’ve debated why would the left and right arms differ but I don’t know much about the Paracas people, yet. Maybe an artistic expression? Natural representation of an existing icon? or just a mistake?

      Feel free to share more… 🙂

      1. Hi Norbert! I’m not an adept in it, but I think it’s like the Tree of Life. I don’t know the Paracas culture and I know american indian cultures just a very little, But I’ve read that some old symbols and theory were known in many places all over the world. The Tree of life was known for example in “pagan” cultures, but it occurs in the Bible (in de garden of Eden), and in mystery of Kabbalah (in Judaism).
        I live in Europe and I haven’t been out of Europe yet. But I’ve seen some similar representations in Europe in isolated places in outback and I didn’t know what those symbolize and I’m not sure even now. Then I had a look at a book, what was a collection of symbols, and I found the either symbol what I’ve seen is similar to the Tree of Life in the book.
        Then I searched it on the Internet and I saw it’s in the Kabbalah, too and then I read a book about it. (Sorry, my english is not very good.)
        The Tree of Life in Kabbalah and the Paracas Candelabra are’n the same exactly, but the Tree of Life has many representation. I’ve seen just these weeks that many villages had different artistic representations in my region.
        Those are very very different.
        And what is my theory why the left and right arms differ? I have an idea why the middle part (looks like a petal) is missing on the left arm.
        I think the “petals” on the Candelabra correspond to the spheres of the Tree of Life which are attributes of God. The middle sphere of the left arm is the justice. I’ve read in my book some people didn’t represent it, because they thought the evil is coming from here. My book isn’t writing it about the Paracas people 🙂 but I think if this symbol are known in many places, maybe that’s why Paracas people didn’t represent it.

        This is just my idea. It’s possible the Candelabra is an other thing and I feel I must tell you I don’t know many other old symbols (just a few) and I’m not adept at archeology and ethnography.

        1. Thank you so much Steve for sharing all that info with us. You got a good point there and it kinda makes sense. I didn’t know about the representation of the petals of the Kabbalah Tree of Life. Maybe the Paracas people knew about a similar version of the Tree of Life and how each petal/sphere represented their life and being on this earth.
          Well, there’s a lot to speculate on mysterious symbols like this, and the possibilities are endless.
          I’m glad you shared your point of view with us… a very valid one! 🙂

          1. Thank you the good point. 🙂
            What i didn’ t wrote clearly: The “petals” what I can see on Candelabra are referred to as spheres in Kabbalah. This is a bit complicated structure with connections, so I don’t want to write a lot about it.
            But I would like to write: the spheres are attributes of God. There are active attributes on the right arm and passive attributes on the left arm. The middle arm (pillar in Kabbalah) is the equilibrant.
            For example: justice is on the left pillar and clemency is on the right arm. There are spheres on the middle pillar, too.
            The Kabbalah Tree of Life is the symbol of universe, it’s a specification of the divine inspiration, wisdom and energy from above to down. And it’s the ambition of the humanity to come into the empire of God.
            Nowadays it’s corresponded to DNS, philosophy (thesis, antithesis, synthesys) and something in atomic physics, too.
            I’ve read these in my book about Kabbalah.
            Many Asian nomadic people knew the Tree of Life. They thought it connects the down, middle and the top world. Some people say it’s the tree of samanic ceremony, the saman goes up to the layers of haven it’s stairs.
            It’s interesting many cultures had known it. People say that the humanity got it from the angels. I think it would be amazing to solve the origin of it, and if someone could solve the origin of humanity and religions. Or at least someone could solve what is the Paracas Candelabra 🙂
            Sorry about the too much text and thanks for the good valuation. 🙂

          2. Thanks Steve. Comments are always welcomed! 🙂
            Now that you mention the connection of the down, middle, and top of the world through the Tree of Life; the Incas made a reference to this idea of three worlds or levels through a different icon known as the Inca Cross. Although the Incas and the Paracas people are totally different and are on different times in history, it is possible that the Paracas people had some sort of “three worlds” vision/representation of their environment and existence. Maybe the candelabra could have some sort of relationship with that idea, plus what you mentioned previously.

    1. Yes, when you go to Peru, go to the southern region of Ica. There you can roam around the smaller districts like Paracas, Huacachina, Nazca, Ballestas Islands, and others. This area has a lot to offer in terms of ancient civilizations history, geoplyphs, and more. Since the weather is very dry, most archeological finds are pretty well preserved.

    1. I tend to incline towards a cactus or a representation of something “natural”. I don’t think the Paracas people had the concept of “candelabra” like we have it today. But, I might be wrong. lol

    1. I know! The Paracas people knew their surroundings very well. In the area you can see this symbol as well as the Nazca Lines, which were done by literally displacing the sand stones on the desert floor. They have lasted centuries without being erased either… impressive!

  2. Nice shot Nobert!, Umm I never heard of this place, I might google more about it later. It sounds very interesting. I would like to try on the boat ride.

    1. Thanks Sarah! This place is not well known around the world, technically because it is overshadowed by other interesting places like Nazca and Machu Picchu. But still, it makes for a really cool one-day sightseeing tour around the area.

      1. From the photo you took, It still seems like a interesting place to tour by the boat. Even though it might not be famous, we can make it famous by blogging about it haha just playing 😛

  3. Beautiful image! I also got to know the “Candelabro” when I went to Paracas this year, and is certainly impressive!! In addition, I saw the Ballestas Islands in all its glory at the Paracas Reserve. The good thing is that I stayed at the “Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection Resort”, a luxury hotel located in the reserve itself and where they treated me very well with good standards of service and fine food. Here is the link to your page if you dare to visit: http://www.libertador.com.pe/en/2/1/5/hotel-paracas

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