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|At Chan Chan Peru We See Walls And Buildings Like These|
From Several Miles Away From The Tschudi Palace Ruins!
Located near the Pacific Ocean in La Libertad (Trujillo), Chan-Chan or "Sun - Sun", pronounced "jang jang", was the capital of the vast Chimu Empire. It is the largest mud city in the world, it was declared by UNESCO to be a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Its importance is only comparable to the old cities of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China or Teotihuacán in Mexico. Chan Chan was built in the XII and XIII Centuries.
Its construction was begun by the Mochicas in the third Century and was inhabited by them until the VII century. It then became the capital of the Chimu nation in the XII century. It was still functioning in the XV century. The city also had the names of Chimo, Chimor and Cauchán.
In the time of its maximum splendor it is calculated that its population was above 100,000 inhabitants.
Built in adobe, at the moment restored and it is one of the best conserved from the most important huacas of Peru. In their walls beautiful friezes; place museum.
The city of Chan Chan, capital of the Kingdom of Chimor, also known as the Chimu Empire, represents America's largest prehispanic mud-brick settlement. Chan Chan is a large city that covers 7.7 square miles and is centered on a 2.3 square mile urban core of large enclosures, which were the palaces of the Chimu rulers.
The origins of Chan Chan go back to the beginning of the first millennium AD when the first large enclosure, probably the Ciudadela Chayhuac, or Chayhuac Citadel, was built. Many other ciudadelas, eleven in total were built later on. By the time the Inca conquered the Chimu kingdom, in about 1470 AD, Chan Chan was the center of an empire that covered 621 miles of the Pacific coastline and they controlled about two-thirds of all of the agricultural land along the Pacific coast of South America.
Agriculture was very important to the Chimu, who built many miles of irrigation canals, to expand the area under cultivation. A long canal was actually built from the Chicama River to the north, in order to irrigate the farmland near Chan Chan in the Moche Valley. The agricultural area harvested in the Moche Valley in prehispanic times actually exceeds the area currently cultivated.
The archaeological site of Chan Chan contains very tall walls, some over 26 feet high, which enclose each of the 11 citadels. Together with Huaca Obispo, Chan Chan's largest stepped pyramid, just north of the city, they form the greatest part of the monumental architecture of Chan Chan. Each of these palaces, is characterized by three types of structures: U-shaped audiencias, storerooms and wells. In general terms the site’s high walls, long corridors, winding passageways, and small entrances controlled the flow of people within the enclosures.
The U-shaped rooms called "audiencias" are found in varying sizes and were probably the administrative offices of the Chimu elite. Some are decorated with elaborate clay friezes that represent shellfish, stylized waves, marine birds and fish. One frieze actually contains a reed boat adorned with a cormorant and a giant squid about to eat a fish.
The extensive storerooms, are 2,000 square meters in volume. Archaeologists found traces of manufactured goods, including the imprints of textiles, which were probably stored in these rooms until their removal around the time of the Inca conquest. The Chimu placed great value to the items stored which is shownt by the controlling position of the building that one must pass through in order to access the storerooms.
If the capacity of the Chan Chan storerooms is examined, it becomes evident that, unlike the Inca, they did not store huge amounts of staples. They specialized in producing and trading small, but very valuable, luxury goods probably used as status symbols by the distant lords.
Another recurrent feature of the ciudadelas of Chan Chan is large, deep, walk-in-wells. Today these have dried out completely due to the lower water table, which has led, in turn to a smaller area currently under irrigation and modern-day water extraction with mechanized pumps to supply the expanding city of Trujillo.
The people buried in the enormous tombs of Chan Chan were accompanied in the grave by elaborate offerings of textiles, ceramics, and metalwork. The bones of dozens of women, found around the central grave, point to large-scale human sacrifice. Apparently, the descendants of the rulers.
The common people of Chan Chan lived outside of the compounds, and were probably forbidden to enter them. Most of the artisans, fishermen, farmers and laborers at Chan Chan resided in what archaeologists have dubbed "intermediate architecture"- structures smaller than monumental compounds, but generally more complex than simple huts. This intermediate architecture housed the estimated 12,000 artisans working at Chan Chan.
The total population of the city may well have been as large as
50,000 or more, although strong seasonal fluctuation is suspected.
There are four main sites at Chan Chan, all spread over a large area that requires either a lot of walking or a couple taxi rides. However, many walls and structures can be seen surrounding the complex for a few miles miles in all directions.
The principal complex, named the Tschudi Palace for a 19th-century Swiss explorer, has been partially restored, and there is a self guided walking tour route indicated by painted arrows. This royal palace area was home to a noble population of 500 to 1,000. The first area of interest is a ceremonial courtyard decorated with aquatic-themed friezes. The original walls were 59 feet high. Just beyond the courtyard are walls with friezes of fish and seabirds. The most fascinating component of the palace is the large area known as the Sanctuary, whose walls are textured like fishing nets. Although Chan Chan contains the ruins of an additional eight royal compounds, none has been restored like Tschudi, and very little can be seen or understood from viewing them.
At the Tschudi Palace there is an area called the "Recento Funerario" which is probably the most important and sacred enclosure in the palace for it was here that the tomb of the senior Chimo was located. The tomb was placed in the center of the funerary platform and was surrounded by 44 secondary tombs. In those secondary tombs were placed burial items including concubines, officials, and many other goods meant to accompany the Chimu lord in the next life. Ceremonies for the dead were carried out here and with great pageantry and color in the plaza and on the platform. We have some images on this page of this burial area.
Huaca Esmeralda and Huaca Arco Iris are two smaller pyramidal temples that are rather far from the main palace. They are included in the Chan Chan ticket, but you must go to either the museum or the Tschudi Palace first. Huaca Esmeralda is in the Mansiche district, midway between Chan Chan and Trujillo (several blocks behind the church, to the right). The huaca consists of a couple platforms and some friezes that have not yet been restored; although they are less impressive than others, at least visitors get a clear chance to see original reliefs.
Another part of the Chan Chan, Chimú complex, is "The House Of The Dragon" or "Huaca el Dragón". It is also called "Huaca del Arco Iris" (rainbow), located about 4 km. north of Trujillo, in the La Esperanza suburb, west of the Pan-American Highway. It is in much better condition than Huaca Esmeralda, having been excavated only in the 1960s, and its well-conserved rainbow-shaped friezes are fascinating. Some have interpreted the central motif to be that of a dragon. Outer walls have reliefs of snakes and peculiar lizards. The fairly large structure has several ramps, and visitors can climb to platforms at the top of the temple.
The Museo de Sitio de Chan Chan, along the road back toward Trujillo, has a small collection of ceramics from Chan Chan and some exhibits about the nature of the city and its history. The museum is equipped with a new auditorium and models of Chan Chan; an audio and light presentation is given in English as well as Spanish. The museum is at least a 20-minute walk from Tschudi Palace.
We were at Chan Chan on April 27, 2006 during most of the afternoon.
The first choice of where to go in order to visit Chan Chan is to fly in to Trujillo. Chan Chan only about 5 kilometers east of the center of Trujillo.
Trujillo is a moderately large city in Northwestern Peru, very close to the Pacific Coast. Trujillo is known for its seafood and the beaches of its famous surf and beach resort Huanchaco.
The Capitán FAP Carlos Martínez de Pinillos International Airport (IATA: TRU, ICAO: SPRU); known as Aeropuerto Internacional Capitán FAP Carlos Martínez de Pinillos in Spanish, is the airport serving Peru's third most important city, Trujillo. It is the main air hub in northern Peru.
The second choice is Chiclayo, which is the capital city of the Lambayeque region in northern Peru. It is located 13 kilometers inland from the Pacific coast and 770 kilometers from the nation's capital, Lima.
Chiclayo is one of the most important urban areas of Peru. It has grown to become the country's fourth largest city after Lima, Arequipa, and Trujillo. Chiclayo is very commercialized and has many modern characteristics. It is known as one of the friendliest cities in Peru. Because of this attribute, Chiclayo is known as, "The Capital of Friendship and the Pearl of the North."
The Capitán FAP José A. Quiñones Gonzales International Airport (IATA: CIX, ICAO: SPHI) is the airport serving Chiclayo, Peru and the surrounding metropolitan area. It is run by CORPAC S.A. (Corporación Peruana de Aeropuertos y Aviación Comercial S.A.), a government-run organization that oversees the management of Peruvian airports. It is the main airport of the Lambayeque Region, one of the most populous of the country.
There are several Guided Tour Agencies offering standard city, and archaeological tours of Trujillo or Chiclayo and the surrounding area.
This page is for information purposes only and while we have made every effort to be accurate, it is the travelers responsibility to make the appropriate choice as to which hotels to use in Peru.
We found that when touring Peru, Magical Cusco Tours gave us the best service of all. They even arranged very personal tours based upon our ages and experience. They were there for us whenever we needed them.
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Our Chan Chan Tour Guide
See Link To Her On Page Below
|Chan Chan Peru Tour Guide|
Edith Munoz Leading George Up
The Ramp From The Sunken Patio
|We Begin Our Tour By |
Approaching The Entrance
To The Tschudi Palace
|The Ticket Gate|
To The Tschudi Palace
|The Portal (Gate)|
To The Tschudi Palace
|Inside The Tschudi Palace|
We Look To The Left
|Inside The Tschudi Palace|
We Look To The Right
|Walking Through A Doorway|
We See Many Decorations
|Inside A Patio||Inside A Patio|
|Sea Otters On The Walls||Sea Otters On The Walls|
|The Yellow Area Is A Corridor|
Decorated With Reliefs Of
Fish, Pelican, Fish Nets, & Birds
|Pelicans And Fish Wall|
|Corridor & Wall To The Left|
Is Pelicans And Fish Wall
|Pelicans And Fish Wall||Pelicans And Fish Wall|
|A Large Sunken Patio||A Large Sunken Patio|
|The Yellow Area Is Next To The|
Sunken Patio Area Leading
To Little Temples
|Model Of A Small Temple|
|These U Shaped Niches|
Were Below A Ramp
That People Walked On
|Today The Ramps Are|
Shaded For The Visitors
|The Yellow Area Is The|
Pozo Ceremonial (Huachaque)
|Which Is A Ceremonial Well|
A Water and Fertility Cult
|The Sacred Well||A Duck On The Sacred Well|
|The Next Area Of The Palace|
In Yellow Is The Tomb Of
"The Señor Chimo"
|We Can See The Location|
Of The Tomb Of
"The Señor Chimo"
"The Señor Chimo"
He Was Buried
In The Bottom
Far End Of
The Deep Trench
"The Senor Chimo"
Our Tour Ends!