Near the modern city of Trujillo in Northern Peru, a pair of awe-inspiring pyramids rise from the dry coastal desert.
The Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Temples of the Sun and the Moon) were constructed from millions handmade adobe bricks, by the Moche people between about 200 and 850 AD. Successive generations added new platforms on top of the existing structures, such that each one grew higher and higher.
These massive monuments, and the now-buried remains of the city that lies between them, formed the capital of the Moche culture for hundreds of years.
The Huaca del Sol (Temple of the Sun), also known as the Capuxaida, is believed to be the largest adobe building in the Americas, comprising approximately 140 million mud bricks. Despite its name, it’s actually thought to have had a more political and administrative function.
Archaeologists estimate it was originally over 1130 feet long, 525 feet wide and 100 feet high. Sadly, a large proportion of the structure was destroyed by colonial treasure hunters in the 17th Century. That said, it remains a massive monument.
The Huaca de la Lune (Temple of the Moon) is in truth a complex of buildings, consisting of three main pyramidal platforms and four large plazas.
Unlike its slightly larger neighbour, the Huaca de la Luna is most definitely a ceremonial and religious structure. It includes religious designs and has several altars, some of which were used for human sacrifice.
One of the things that most surprised me most were the vivid colours with which these designs are painted.
All the colours used at Huaca de la Luna came from natural sources. The pigments are all water soluble, and would not have survived if the climate were not so dry.
Thanks to Lina of TrujilloDelPeru.Com for guiding us through the marvels of the Temples of the Sun and the Moon.
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