Sunday, September 4, 2016

Trujillo and the ruins in the desert

Plaza de Armas In Trujillo

Trujillo is a small town around 11 hours by bus north of Lima. The centro histórico of the town contains some beautiful examples of colonial architecture.

The Cathedral

Another shot of the Cathedral

The Monasterio del Carmen

And a pedestrian walkway through the middle of the old city.

Jirón Francisco Pizarro

The gate at Plaza El Recreo

However the main attraction in Trujillo is the ruins of the Huacas of the Moon and the Sun in Moche district and the ruins at Chan Chan.

The Moche civilisation was a pre-inca civilisation existing from 100CE to 800 CE. There are two main temples in the ruins with the remains of the town between. They lie at the base of the Cerro Blanco - a mountain sacred to the Moche, and the burial place for their human sacrifices.

Cerro Blanco

The huaca del Sol is the biggest ruin but is inaccessible because looting and erosion have significantly damaged the structure. It was once the seat of political power in Moche.

Huaca del Sol

The ruins of the village of Moche

The huaca de la Luna was the religious centre of the Moche and it is relatively well preserved. It was in this temple that the Moche made human sacrifices. 

The method by which the sacrifices were chosen was a system if ritual combat. The two warriors would fight each other until one removed the helmet of the other. The loser was then stripped naked and paraded in front of the town in the manner of a captured enemy. All the possessions of the loser became the property of the winner and the loser was then sacrificed.

The place where the sacrifices occurred

The walls of the ruins are decorated with depictions of serpents and spiders representing the wet and dry spells of the el niño weather events.

Decorated walls in the temple

Another decorated wall

And depictions of their gods.

A depiction of Al Paec - God of the Sun, War and human sacrifice

The other major archaeological site in Trujillo is the ruins of another civilisation - Chan Chan.

There are 9 palaces at Chan Chan. Each time a ruler would die, the palace would be closed and turned into a tomb - and a new one built to house the new ruler. 

Only one of the palaces has been excavated, however it's an impressive structure surrounded by a 12m wall.

The wall surrounding the palace

The palace consists of several distinct areas - from the throne room

The throne

Decorations on the walls

Depictions of fishes and the changing currents in the sea

To administrative areas

The tax collection area and storehouse

To an ingenious water saving system - a bore and rainwater capture

The reservoir

To the tomb of the king which finally closed the palace forever.

The king's tomb