10 March 2020

Peru, 11 Years Later: Chan Chan

After spending a few days in Chiclayo, I decided to move on. I took the bus heading to Trujillo, which would be my final stop before I head to Lima again, where I would be catching my flight back home. Trujillo was an interesting place, a small city with a very elegant city centre, and a few archaeological sites nearby. One of them was Chan Chan.

Chan Chan was actually the largest pre-Columbian city in South America. It was the capital of the Chimu culture, and it is characterised by massive adobe buildings. It is actually the largest adobe city in the Americas, and the second-largest in the world (the largest being Arg-e Bam, in Iran, which I also visited, in 2016).

I went to Chan Chan by taking a bus from central Trujillo, and as the signs of civilisation petered out, I found myself on a lonely road, and suddenly the driver of the bus pointed me to another road heading inwards towards nowhere. Signs indicated however that indeed that was the correct road to Chan Chan. I started walking, and realised that it's a massive place, I was walking for about 2 kilometres when I finally saw the entrance and the place to buy my ticket.

I opted to go with a guide, and she actually explained to me what I was seeing. We walked around the entire area for about an hour or more, and I definitely learned a lot about this culture.

The first thing I saw were the walls. It doesn't rain in this area of Peru, so these adobe structures have stood the test of time, although they are actually under danger of erosion. There are plenty of animal depictions in these walls, like fish, squirrels, and many other designs.

Moving further, there's a massive area where there are plenty of rooms. I could only imagine what life would have been like in this area, centuries ago. In any case, I definitely learned a lot about this culture, which was very fascinating. The area overall is huge, because it seems that this culture tends to build new palaces and cities for every king they have. So when a new king comes to power, they won't simply occupy the palaces of the old king, but build a new one for their own. Hence this culture ended up having a massive city of mud in this area of Peru. And just to put it in scale, the area that is accessible to visitors is just one of several palaces that are found in the area. If you're an archaeologist, then Peru is definitely a country for you.

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