Saturday, July 16, 2011

Trujillo archaeological sites

It has been a month since I came home from Peru, so I'd better hurry up and finish the last posts about the tour.

Back to Trujillo. On Thursday, I did four performances at the school. At that point, the count was 78 shows, with two more to go. My energy was flagging. After the performances,Gustavo and I went to the restaurant where we had the fantastic ceviche and causas, which revived us considerably. From there we caught a bus to Chan Chan, amazing Pre-Columbian ruins not far from Huanchaco Beach. They were inhabited by the Chimu people, from about 850 AD to 1470 AD, when the Incas conquered them.

It's a huge fortress. I heard that the only way the Incas defeated them was by starving them out. The structures blend into the sandy coast, adobe with figures carved into them (or made with molds). Much of the site, like Machu Picchu, is reconstructed.

Here's the plaza just inside the entrance:
The two figures were the only pieces that wasn't sand-colored. The art is representational, with lots of birds, fish, crabs, etc., in geometric patterns.

I loved the shapes of the adobe structures.

Parts of Chan Chan are covered with roofs now. Erosion is a major issue, as you can imagine.

The next day, after the last two shows (my gosh, is it really over? did I do eighty shows in five weeks? am I still alive?), we went to the Huaca de la Luna, the Temple of the Moon. This is on the other side of Trujillo, and was built by the Moche people, from 100 to 800 AD. It's unclear what happened to the Moche. Our guide told us they may have moved because of climate changes or because of an epidemic, but they were not conquered by invaders. They just sort of left.

The structure is brick, but not rounded like Chan Chan. It backs up to Cerro Blanco, or White Hill.
The Huaca is a pyramid, with several layers. Across the valley is the Huaca del Sol, which was looted by the conquistadores. That temple isn't open to the public. I didn't get good pictures of the Huaca we actually visited, but it was similar in shape.

There were amazing mosaics inside the layers. This is close to the top.

And a close-up:

You can see the layers better from this side:

See the blue cat?

Here it is closer:

And even closer:

There were workers here, as there were at Chan Chan. Who knows how much of the ruins are reconstructed. I only hope they're done with an eye to historical accuracy.

After this, we went for a quick tour around downtown Trujillo (lunch of cabrito, as goat is a specialty of the region), then went back to the beach, where we put our feet in the water. We walked down the pier to watch people fishing, went into the fish museum (not an aquarium, but a museum of stuffed and mounted fish), then went back to the hotel for much deserved naps before meeting up again for a final light supper and a farewell pisco sour at Sabes. The day wasn't quite done--the taxi picked us up at the hotel to take us to the bus station for the 10-hour ride back to Lima. I slept almost all the way.


Unknown said...

Please tell me... what were the structures in photos 4 and 5 utilized for?

Priscilla Howe said...

I'm not sure. There's a little info on the Wikipedia page: