Trujillo - Chan Chan And Fabulous Mud Temples -WOW

Trip Start Nov 01, 2004
Trip End Nov 01, 2005

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Day 268 Monday 25/07/05 Trujillo

Our first tour with Michael took us to the Pyramid of the Moon with a group of 9. This is a huge Moche mud block temple and the custom of this people was to basically build over the old temple when they wanted to change it (death of priest? major natural catastrophe?) so there are 8 or 9 different ages of this temple. As you come through the temple you see ancient murals (some possibly 1400 years old) and we have seen nothing like it anywhere else in Peru. Graverobbers had found the site before the archaeologists and some of the graves are fairly empty but there have still been some amazing finds here. The murals are what is special here though and they are still uncovering new areas right now...outside the main entrance Michael tells you what was uncovered in the last few days. It is awesome. From the top you look over to the Pyramid of the Sun which the public aren`t allowed on and between the two there was a city which is slowly being uncovered. The Pyramid of the Sun is huge and it is estimated that 140 million mud bricks were used to build it....and the legend says it was built in 3 days by 200,000 men. We spent the morning being guided round the Pyramid of the Moon before heading back to the hostel for a cheap lunch that they provide. On the way out we were introduced to PJ - a hairless dog with some blonde hair on his forehead...should have been called Beckham. After lunch we headed out alone with Michael for another tour. We started out at the partially renovated Temple Of The Dragon - which still has some amazing original carvings on the mud brick walls and was only found in 1963. Afterwards we headed to a local museum to see some exhibits on the local way of life. We then headed out to the highlight of the tour - Chan Chan. It was the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and when the Spanish came a conquering they eventually forced Chan Chan to be abandoned....imagine their horror when earthquakes devastated the new city while the older mud city was largely unaffected! It covers about 14km2 and there were about 10,000 structures. We were taken to the partially renovated (most of what you see is foundation ruins) 8th palace and it is breathtaking. There are 2 huge ceremonial squares, lots of rooms with superb decorations and superb lattice mudbrickwork. There is a huge mausoleum and even a pool which forms from natural springs. The water in the pool only came back after the El Nino in the mid 90s! This whole site is a World Heritage Site and many of the carvings are uncovered, copied and then the copies are placed in front of the originals to protect them. After a couple of hours here we headed back to the hostel and chilled with our heads full of amazing facts and figures that Michael just reels off at 100mph. We chatted to new guests and then had a nice Chinese meal near the hostel (expensive in Peru). There is enough here for at least another day but sadly we have to get to Lima as there is a big public holiday coming up.
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