El Chan Chan

Escapades to other cities or sites have been almost a mission since my arrival in Lima. This weekend, we went up north, to Trujillo and stayed in beautiful Huanchaco, little beach surfer town just outside the big city on the Pacific coast of Peru. Also in the surrounding areas are preserved and restored ancient pre-inca archaeological sites, known as: Las Huacas del Sol y de la Luna, El Chan Chan.

El

Chan Chan (Sun Sun in Quechua) was the capital of the Chimú civilization, which lasted from A.D. 850 to about 1470, when they were conquered by the Incas. The adobe city was and still is the largest adobe city on earth with 20 km². It was estimated that there were about 50,000 people living in Chan Chan. Inside the city, there are 11 palaces that were built for each governor, because a palace could not be used by 2 governors. Governors could have several wives, up to 90, who lived inside the palace also. Within the city walls, there are many ceremonial plazas, temples, chambers, and rooms, all of which are surrounded by 15meter walls. These walls were to protect the city against the wind and also against the enemy. Surprisingly, you also find inside the city (located in a desert) small gardens and ponds thanks to their inauguration systems. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions and heavy rainfalls, the adobe city was partly destroyed, but efforts are put towards the site’s preservation.  Archaeologists are still discovering many new parts of the city and there is only one palace that can be visited, as others are still buried. The Chan Chan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986.

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