Travel, Uncategorized

Of Mud We Are: The City of Chan Chan

Chan Chan (Photo: Gabriela Filgueira).

The great adobe city of the Chimu Kingdom, Chan Chan was named a World Heritage Site in 1986 and was named last December as one of the eight most spectacular places on earth that were created by Pre-Hispanic civilizations.

It name come from the lost Quingnam language. We know, though, that it means shining sun. You can see the merit of this name when you walk down its streets bathed in golden tones.

Thanks to an unknown author who penned a chronicle in 1604 called “The Anonymous History of Trujillo” we know that the patriarch of the city called Tacaynamo came from to the north in a sea faring raft. He established himself as the ruler in Chan Chan and from that time there were seven rulers until Minchancaman. This last was conquered by the Incas in 1470 and then taken to Cuzco as a prisoner.

Besides its amazing urban design, its great beauty and the quantity and variety of decorated walls call attention. These decorations in high relief indeed are one of the main attractions of the city. Made in molds, these three dimensional designs were used to decorate patios, audience halls, corridors, and the interior of compounds that formed the complex. They included geometric figures and representations of fish and birds.

Chan Chan (Photo: Gabriela)
Chan Chan (Photo: Gabriela Filgueira)

In this city you see labyrinthine points of access, high walls, platforms, palaces, and temples to venerate the sea. Indeed, not only the ruler but the gods of Chanchan were udnerstood to have come from the water.

Letting yourself be carried away by the golden touches and the eternal curves of this amazing metropolis of mud is one of the important experience of Peru, and especially of the north coast where there is still a world to be discovered.

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