The archaeological wonders of northern Peru
58 images Created 28 Apr 2009
Northern Peru, an area not often explored by visitors, yet it is a region that holds hidden gems for adventurous trip and promises to be the next big tourist destination in Peru. Many people are unaware that in Peru many civilizations pre-dated the Inca and northern Peru was once the center of several mighty civilizations including the Sipán, Moche, and Chimu. What makes these societies so mystical is that not much is known about them because they used no form of writing to record their history, leaving their only messages through monuments and ceramics. Near the city of Trujillo, with the flavour of its lavish colonial architecture and colourful old mansions, the sacred pyramids of the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna are huge adobe brick buildings and it is thought that this was the former capital of the Moche civilization. For nearly 500 years, the Moche, ruled by a caste of warrior-priests, dominated Peru’s northern coast and celebrated ceremony of blood sacrifice of the vanquished. Also near to Trujillo is Chan Chan, the capital of the Chimu civilization and one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru, the largest pre-Columbian city in South America. Chiclayo is home to the Lord of Sipán, one of Peru’s most spectacular discoveries, exposed at the Royal Tombs Museum. Chiclayo is also near to the “Valley of the Pyramids” of Tucume, is a huge complex of 26 large adobe pyramids built by the Sicán civilization. Controlling a dozen fertile river valleys, Moche society maintained this religious ideology, but began to fall around 600 C.E. when hit by catastrophic climate events: El Niño-driven floods and gigantic mudslides followed by intense droughts. The people lost faith in their rulers, and by 850 C.E., their civilization was, dead, replaced by a new empire, the Chimú.