Chan Chan

Chan Chan is the huge abandoned capital of the Chimú civilization. Set just outside Trujillo on the North Coast of Peru, Chan Chan is the largest adobe city in the world.

Chan Chan Things to Do

Civilizations of Trujillo, Peru
Civilizations of TrujilloTrujillo

During this full day tour you’ll explore Peru’s Moche and Chimú civilizations. Along the way you’ll visit the Sun and Moon Huacas, Huaca Arcos Iris , the archeological site of Chan Chan, and the traditional town of Huanchaco.

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Located near the Pacific coast city of Trujillo, Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimú Empire, which lasted from A.D. 850 to around 1470. This empire stretched some 600 miles (965 km) from Southern Ecuador to Central Peru. Most of Chimú's buildings were built with mud bricks, which were easy to create and are an ideal material for building walls, pyramids, and cemeteries. They last a long time in the dry desert climate.

Chan Chan consists of nine sectors known as Royal Compounds or Palacios, each of which was built for the succeeding king. The Royal Compound known as the "Tschudi Palace" has been partially restored and is open to the public. There are two carving styles found here: one is a realistic representation of subjects such as birds, fish, and small mammals, while the other is a more graphic, stylized representation of the same subjects. The Tschudi Palace is being restored and gives a wonderful idea of how magnificent this city must have been.

Chan Chan held up to 100,000 inhabitants during its peak. There were ten recorded kings and power was passed down according to birth. Underneath the kings and their families were their workers, followed by civilians, military personnel, artisans, farmers and craftsmen. All these people populated the "City of Mud" for centuries, with artisans and farmers living outside the complex center in less-durable constructions.

A large number of artifacts were found at Chan Chan that show evidence of craft production. The workshops here contained scrap copper, hammers, beads, bangles, rings, tweezers for metalworking, and tools for weaving and woodworking.

There is an onsite museum with original artifacts, including wood idols and ceramic pieces that were discovered during the excavation process. There are also rooms devoted to Chimú agriculture, with irrigation techniques and products that were grown in the Moche valley.