|Trujillo disputes the title of second city of Peru with Arequipa with 850 000 people living there. It was founded in 1534 and the area has many pre columbian sites as well as beaches with good surfing, and the city itself has many old churches and colonial homes.
We visited the site of Chan Chan which is a crumbling imperial city of the Chimù and is the largest adobe city in the world. The ruins consist of nine great compounds built by Chimù kings. Each compound contains a platform mound with a burial chamber where the king was buried. We took a tour around the Ciudadela of Tschudi which is one of the nine compounds. It has been restored and consists of many storage rooms and walls. There were lots of open areas where sacrifices were performed both with and without the locals.
On the same day we also visited Huaca El Dragon, also known as Huaco Arco Iris (rainbow) after the shape of the decoration. It was built in AD 1000-1470 and this temple was used as a place to sacrifice young children. It was quite impressive and and on the top we had good views of the city.
We also visited Huanchaca which is a beach resort. We strolled along the front and saw all of the reed boats, known as Caballitos) which are used by the local fishermen. These have also become a tourist attraction to ride the waves on. We watched the sunset before returning to Trujillo.
The next day we visited Huacas del Sol and de la Luna (temples of the sun and moon). We took a taxi to these huge Moche pyramids and walked the final part. The Huaca del Sol is not open to the public but it is possible to walk around it. It was the largest man made structure in the western hemisphere reaching 45m but a third of it has been washed away. It is still an impressive structure though and archeologists still continue to search through it before it will be open to the public.
The Huaca de la Luna is a religious pyramid and received little attention compared to its larger neighbour until 6000 sq m of remarkable mural paintings and reliefs were uncovered throughout the 1990s. It is based at the bottom of a mountain and consists of 6 levels each pertaining to a different ruler priest. When each priest died he was buried within the Huaca and a new level was built covering up entirely the previous level. Each level had different paintings repeated all along the outside wall. It is possible to see all the different levels and it is very impressive looking at them. They are still uncovering more murals and paintings and are working on it as we were there.
The paintings are the originals and have not been touched up or re-done (as part of Chan Chan was). We had a guided tour around and in the pyramid and it was an incredible structure. Both of the structures were built over the first six centuries AD.
In the evenings we played cards with Helen and drank wine up on the terrace of our hostel overlooking a church where we could see mass !
The following day we had a look around town. We visited the plaza de armas. The cathedral on the plaza dates from 1666 and there are many other colonial buildings which are beautiful. We also visited the toy museum, Museo del Juguete which was pleasant enough.
Hostal Colonial - Good rooms, cable tv, lovely terrace and organise tours. 45 soles.
Plaza restaurant on corner of plaza de armas - Excellent breakfast !! waiter remembered our orders from day to day !