The Chimu city of Chan Chan is one of the largest archaeological complexes in America. Built entirely in adobe, it is composed of 10 citadels (walled enclosures) linked together by roads and squares.
Inhabited at its time of greatest splendor by more than 30,000 people, it was the capital of the Chimu kingdom (500,000 inhabitants). It can be said that it was one of the centers of power in ancient Peru.
It was a rival of the Kingdom of Cuzco until in 1470 it fell into the hands of the Incas, being sacked and destroyed in large part. Spanish chroniclers do not highlight the city during the conquest, so it is believed that it was no longer political or economic importance. This city did not shine like years ago.
The city of Chan Chan
Its name is translated, according to the majority opinion of the experts, as Great Sun. And it is a very appropriate name. Do not forget to wear sunscreen and a good hat.
The visit of the Tschudi Citadel (Nik An) begins on a large esplanade, from which you can already see a wall that perfectly defines the citadel. And in the center, one of the main access doors.
At the end of the access ramp, flanking the entrance, we find 2 Chimu sculptures that seemed to still protect this city. Remains of a bright past …
During the tour, we were able to see beautiful walls decorated with high relief. Like the Moche and Lambayeque culture, prior to the Chimu culture, the architects and master craftsmen of Chan Chan decorated the walls with marine motifs.
After all, according to legend, Tacaynamo, the first chimu ruler, came from beyond the sea. In similarity with the legend of the Lambayeque culture about the god Naylamp, also arrived from the sea.
We went through the different squares and roads, passing through an old reservoir, until we reached one of the main areas of the citadel. Beautifully decorated, you could see audience rooms for emissaries and worship areas. It is the best-preserved area of the citadel.
Many of the walls are in poor condition. This is due to the destruction carried out by the Incas during the submission of the Chimu Kingdom. Also for the search of gold and silver hidden in its walls during the viceroyalty of Peru. However, you can intuit the greatness that this city had.
And at the end of the visit, a very special animal came to greet us. A typical Peruvian dog! Characteristic for its absence of hair, except a little on the head and tail. What a curious animal!
The Chimu city of Chan Chan is a must for archeology lovers!
How to get to the city of Chan Chan?
The Chimu city of Chan Chan is located on the outskirts of the coastal city of Trujillo, located 560 km north of the city of Lima. It is the 3rd city in the country.
To get here you have several options:
- By plane: It is the fastest and most comfortable option, just 1 hour of flight. You have several airlines that link Lima with Trujillo: LATAM and SKY (Find the best option with Skyscanner).
- By bus: It is cheaper but it will take longer (about 8 hours). We recommend that you hire one of the companies with VIP options (3 seats per row, 160º reclining seat, individual screen with movies and music, ..) to make your trip more comfortable: Olltursa o Cruz del Sur.
Renting a car is not recommended. You have to get used to driving through Peru …
When to visit the city of Chan Chan?
Trujillo is the city of eternal spring , so you can visit the Chimu city of Chan Chan in any season.
However, if you have not visited Machu Picchu yet, we recommend that travel to Peru between July and September , since they are the best dates to visit Machu Picchu, Cuzco and its archaeological sites (the main tourist destinations). And, if you have time, be sure to visit the north coast of Peru: the Chimu city of Chan Chan, the tomb of the Lord of Sipán, the huacas in the Peruvian north, …
Where to stay in Trujillo?
As it is a large city it has a multitude of accommodation options of different prices: hostels, luxury hotels, hotels on the coast, …
We recommend that you stay here 1-2 days and continue your trip through Peruvian north: Lambayeque, Chiclayo, Máncora, Tumbes, …
Other places of interest near the city of Chan Chan
- Huacas in the Peruvian north: Stunning temples shaped like a truncated pyramid. There are several huacas of interest near Trujillo (Huacas of the Sun, Moon and Dragon) and Chiclayo (Pyramids of Túcume and Huaca Rajada). Visit them as part of your trip through northern Peru (Read more).
- Trujillo city: This city was founded by Francisco Pizarro. It is famous for its cathedral, its beautiful colonial center and its beaches, where you can see the famous totora horses (old boat built with reeds). The city of Chan Chan is located on the outskirts of this city.
- Lambayeque region: If you travel to northern Peru, be sure to visit Lambayeque. Here are impressive huacas and the tomb of the Lord of Sipán, one of the most important archaeological sites of recent decades. It is located 215 km from Trujillo. (Read more).
- Huaraz area: It is located halfway from Lima to Trujillo (300 km from Trujillo and 400 km from Lima), but in the Andes mountain range. However, we recommend that you organize your trip to go through this spectacular place, base of many high mountain expeditions and trekkings of different difficulties (Read more).
Peru is a rich country in many ways: traditions, climates, fishing, minerals, … and archaeological remains of advanced cultures such as Chimu, not just the famous Inca culture. Organize your trip through Peru with our configurator and come and discover its magnificent places!
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Kiss and hugs.