The amazing mountain scenery and rocky canyons gave way to the dry Peruvian coastline as we neared Trujillo, the site of several significant archaeological ruins. There are always so many to visit so choosing is difficult. At Trujillo we chose to visit Chan Chan, claimed to be the largest Pre-Colombian city in the Americas and Huaca del Sol, Peru’s largest Pre-Colombian structure.
Our favourite was Huaca del Sol y del Luna, two enormous pyramids that are crumbling with time. Huaca del Luna, is slightly smaller of the two and has been partially excavated. Building of these pyramids began about 2,000BC.
The pyramids were built by the Moche civilization, whose custom of burying ‘old’ temples under new ones and creating beautiful polychrome freizes meant that the older layers have been preserved amazingly well.
Built much later, Chan Chan is a sprawling crumble which just looks like an old quarry until you know what you’re looking for. 60,000 people once lived in this city. Some of the adobe walls and art work in the central area have been partially restored to give visitors an idea of how Chan Chan would have looked when first built during the Chimu empire’s time about 1300BC.
We found these such interesting sites to visit, as the only civilisation that we knew about in Peru before travelling here was the Incas, who in fact had a relatively recent and short period of impact.
At Trujillo, we stayed in a private front yard which is listed as a campground, right on the esplanade at the beachside town of Huanchaco which was once a quaint fishing village but now merges with the city nearby. Here, the local fisherman used caballitos (cigar shaped reed canoes) to ply the waves and do their fishing.
Our last night in Peru was spent at another beachside campground. Beautiful as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean was, the evening was a sad ending in two ways – our last night in Peru….
and the end of the Vegemite!