Fast Facts

  • Location: In Huanchaco District in Western Peru
  • Attraction Type: Archaeological Site
  • Significance: An ancient well-planned city dating back to 1000 AD; UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Best Time to Visit: August to October
  • Visiting Hours: Day time
  • How to reach: By road from Trujillo
  • Nearest Airport: Trujillo Airport

Chan Chan represents America’s biggest pre-Hispanic mud-brick habitation. Extensive excavations have revealed the existence of a well planned and structured city testifying the urbane nature of the Chimers. Built around 1000 AD, these archaeological remains speak volumes of the advanced architecture and town planning of Chimor civilization. This capital city of Chimor Kingdom in present-day Peru spread over an area of roughly 8 square miles, developed around a core area of about 2.5 square miles. This structural expertise has been recognized by UNESCO and Chan Chan today is a World Heritage Site.

Located in Moche Valley in between the Andean foothills and the Pacific coast, Chan Chan in Peru is about 300 miles north of Lima. Prior to the Incas, Chimu was the main kingdom of Peru and represented Proto-Chimu cultural traditions. They were primarily an agricultural tribe which was authenticated by the large stretches of irrigation canals connecting River Chicama to the farmlands adjoining Chan Chan city. Evidence of vast expanses of farmland during Chimu rule has been discovered. Craftsmanship was another important occupation of these people. Gold, silver, and copper crafting, and textile weaving and designing were practiced widely by members of this tribe.

Visiting Chan Chan
The most remarkable feature you discover about Peru Chan Chan is its streets with width varying from 15 to 25 feet. You would also come to streets which measure up to 80 feet in width. Also noticeable are its high walls and numerous citadels. Along with Huaca Obispo, the largest stepped pyramid, there are eleven citadels spread all over the city of Chan Chan. The palaces are characterized by storerooms, U-shaped halls, and wells.

The storerooms are comparatively smaller and most likely were used to store small but expensive articles like gold and silver ornaments. The U-shaped rooms called ‘audiencias’ were of different sizes and were used as administrative offices of the nobles. The friezes on the walls of these ‘audiences’ are particularly wonderful, representing marine birds, shellfish, water waves, and giant squids. The wells that you discover in Chan Chan are all of the walk-in types.

The citadels are intriguing buildings. Each of these citadels was built around a T-shaped tomb, which formed the center of the burial platform. Inside each of the tombs, offerings of metalwork, ceramics, and textiles have been unearthed. Also, the discovery of abundant female bones justifies the custom of human sacrifice.

Touring Chan Chan
For visiting Chan Chan it is recommended that you stay in Trujillo, located about 10 miles to its south. Hotel El Peregrino, Hotel Isla Del Gallo, NH Palacio de Santa Marta, Posada Dos Orillas, and Meli Aj Trujillo Boutique Hotel are some of the noteworthy places to put up in Trujillo city.

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