How To Visit Chan Chan, Peru

Published: 06th January 2013
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Most people who go to Peru with limited time devote it in the southern part of the country where Machu Picchu is situated. When looking to extend an excursion beyond the time it takes to see the world wonder, tourists typically choose to add on sites which are also situated in that region for example Lake Titicaca. If you have sufficient time at hand you can also visit the northern areas past Lima. Not only can you witness some impressive historical sites in that region, it is also the best area to travel to if you want a bit of beach time prior to making your way home.

Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimu Empire and is the largest prehispanic settlement made from mud-bricks in the Americas. There are some speculations and theories regarding the existence of Chimu Empire that are actively discussed between historians. A lot still needs to be understood about the cultures in Peru prior to the Incas. Understanding them is more difficult because some of them existed concurrently while some borrowed from earlier ones so it becomes ambiguous when one ended and another began.

This particular city extends over twenty square kilometers. It's believed that it began as a single large citadel to which smaller structures, referred to as ciudadelas, were added with the passage of time. It's interesting to note the fact that these small towns were self-sufficient entities having their own set up of basic requirements such as water arrangements, buildings, graveyards etc. The city also includes areas which appear to be devoted to craftsmen practicing such trades as metalwork, spinning and weaving.

Even though start date of the Chimu Empire is very difficult to determine, they were defeated by the Incas around 1470. During that time period the Chimu empire had its clout over a large region extending up to 1000 km along the coastal areas of Peru. This culture and civilization made a great name owing to the artwork skills which were developed during that time and many individuals who were skilled in doing metal related works were moved to Cusco so as to carry out their activities. The civilization was also known for its agriculture, for which they constructed many canals for irrigation, enabling them to cultivate even more land than is currently used for farming.

There are many accentuating features of the site including extremely high walls, long corridors, passages with extensive winding in order to have robust control over the movement of people entering and leaving the citadel. Some of the walls are embellished with friezes made of clay that are quite detailed in such designs as fish, waves, birds and more.

To reach Chan Chan, you will want to make your base at Trujillo, located about 550 kilometers north of Lima. There are flights as well as bus services so as to reach Trujillo. The bus trip will take approximately 9 hours and is serviced, among other firms, by Cruz del Sur. You can't say that the company provides the cheapest bus services but they're definitely high on safety, comfort and reliability factors.

There are some fascinating sites in Trujillo such as pyramids of the Sun and the Moon and also you will find another great place called El Brujo complex. Both of these archaeological sites originate from the Moche Civilization. To ward of natural calamities the people from Moche Civilization used to conduct several rituals that were quite bloody in a way and on the site there are lots of friezes and reliefs depicting these religious customs and ceremonies.


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