Mochica, Chimu and the conquistadors

Hundreds of years ago, the area around the river Moche, that now looks like a desert, was a flourishing valley. From the name of this river, the people that lived there 600 years ago are called Mochica.

Cultura Mochica was at its peak around 500-600 AD. At that time, when a great part of Europe was just a bunch of wooden huts, the Mochica constructed sacred pyramids, covered by colorful paintings and sculptures. Spiders, dragons, warriors and magic animals were looking at the people asthey were coming to the huaca to praise their god Ai-Apaec . In the heart of the pyramid, on the highest platform, the priest performed human sacrifices to assure the bright future of the community.

The ruins of the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna are still there, in the valley close to the city of Trujillo. Apart from the huacas, Mochicas left after themselves amazing collection of textiles and ceramics, that captures every detail of their lives.

Several hundred years after the Mochica, around 1100 AD, on northern cost of Trujillo appeared another empire: the Chimu. Chimu built their cities elaborately planned, brightly painted and decorated. Their capital Chan Chan had as many as 30000 habitants and was one of the largest pre-Columbian cities in South America and the largest city in the world made of of clay. The legend says, the city itself was founded by a deity called Chan Chan, a dragon who made the sun and the moon, and whose manifestation is the rainbow.

The Chimu met their end with the beginning of the Inca empire, when the Inca army cut the water supply to the city of Chan Chan. Sixty years later, when the Spaniards were crossing the coast, they found only a deserted ghost city full of dust and legend…

Spanish founded in the area their own city – Trujillo. Now it is the third largest city of Peru, after Lima and Arequipa, still famous for its colonial architecture.

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One thought on “Mochica, Chimu and the conquistadors

  1. Seriously, why aren’t you a travel journalist? Not only are the pictures breathtaking, but the succinct history and interesting bits here and there !!

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