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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Peru - 18 November, 2001



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hotel Bracamonte, Huanchaco S08º05.088' W079º07.384' 9 m
Chan Chan . . . 8 km
Temples of the Sun and the Moon . . . 14 km
Trujillo . . . [  ] km
Finish Hotel Bracamonte, Huanchaco S08º05.088' W079º07.384' 9 m [  ] km

Leg 1 Total:

2,173 km


771 km

Grand Total:

2,944 km


Weather: Clear, hazy, sunny and hot.  Windy.  Cool in the evening.



Peru01_ChanChan4_Interior_3917_Web.jpg (112253 bytes)

After breakfast in the hotel, we head off to tour a number of the archeological wonders in the area.  The first stop is at Chan Chan, the huge ruined capital of the Chimu Empire.  Built around 1300 AD and covering about 28 km² it is the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and the largest mud city in the world.  While the Incas conquered the Chimus, they did not really disturb their wealth.  It was when the Spaniards came that the wealth was plundered and not much was left after a few years.


Peru01_ChanChan3_Wall_3916_Web.jpg (97150 bytes)

It is a huge complex and we can certainly get a feel for what it must have been like.  We toured only one of the nine palaces that the complex contained.  We wandered through the passages to the various different areas, which includes a couple of large courtyards, a military sector, the assembly room, the mausoleum, the well and other areas.  The detail on some of the mud work was amazing.  It must have been magnificent in its day.


Peru01_ChanChan6_Well_3919_Web.jpg (98370 bytes)

The walk-in well had water in it - the first time in recent times according to the guide.  He said that this should give an idea of how it may have looked back then.  It was a huge well and you would walk down slopes to get to the bottom and collect your water.  As we toured the complex, we noted that a number of the visitors would leave the roped off areas and wander around the walls and into some of the tombs - it was quite disappointing.


Peru01_TempleMoon5_ViewTempleSun_3924_Web.jpg (62165 bytes)

From Chan Chan we drove towards the Temples (or Pyramids) of the Sun and the Moon.  These are another amazing complexes that were built over 1,500 years ago.  The Temple of the Sun was the largest single pre-Columbian structure and was made with an estimated 140 million adobe bricks.  The bricks are all marked with a symbol, over a hundred are identified, that may have been a symbol of the groups or communities that made them - each group may have been taxed so many bricks per year.


Peru01_TempleMoon4_Model_3923_Web.jpg (69662 bytes)

We visited the smaller Temple of the Moon as it is open to the public and we could view some of the many amazing polychrome friezes that have been uncovered.  The temple apparently consists of six different levels - as each generation expanded the temple, they simply built upon the existing pyramid, expanding it and (often) protecting the decorations underneath.


Peru01_TempleMoon3_Frieze_3922_Web.jpg (137353 bytes)

Many of these friezes are fantastic works of art and we admired quite a few of them as we wandered around.  The photo shows how this frieze is still partially covered by the wall that was excavated.  It is amazing how well preserved the frieze is after being covered by adobe bricks for about 1,500 years (this is original and un-restored).


Peru01_TempleMoon6_Frieze_3925_Web.jpg (124930 bytes)

The outside wall on one side also seemed to be covered with these friezes - and they were huge figures that included a long snake, warriors and the decapitator (this figure has a knife in one had and a head in the other).  The archeologists are having a hard time choosing between uncovering more and protecting existing ones (to find new ones, you would most likely damage existing ones).  We had an excellent guide who was very informative and he referred us to his website where there is further information on the Temples of the Sun and the Moon.


The afternoon was spent in the nearby town of Trujillo, where we had some lunch (soup and chicken with rice and chips in a local place - three courses for less than a buck) and went to the internet cafe to update our website.  Then back to the hotel to relax and work on our journals.


We were lazy tonight, so the two of us just went a short way down the road to a small burger place.  It was good and in-expensive.  The couple that ran the place were delightful and we had a fun time trying to be understood.  In the end they gave us some complimentary drinks.  Back at the hotel we had a drink before retiring to our room.


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