Chan Chan, Peru: The World’s Greatest Adobe City

The great city of Chan Chan was once the capital of the Chimú Kingdom in what is now Northern Peru. Estimates on how many people lived at Chan Chan vary wildly, from as few as 20,000 to as many as 100,000. But one thing is for sure… it was HUGE!

At its height, shortly before the invasion of the Incas in about 1470, it covered an area of at least 5000 acres. As such, Chan Chan was the largest Pre-Columbian city in Latin America and the greatest adobe (mud brick) city in the entire World.

Part of the expansive Pre-Columbian adobe city of Chan Chan in Northern Peru

Part of the expansive Pre-Columbian adobe city of Chan Chan in Northern Peru

Chan Chan was finally abandoned after the arrival of the Spanish around 1535. Today, its remains occupy a large swath of desert outside the colonial town of Trujillo.

Within the confines of the city are nine massive monumental citadels or palaces. Each of the citadels is surrounded by a high adobe wall, pierced by a single entrance. Inside are ceremonial plazas, audience chambers, funeral platforms and other structures. Only the Nik-An Citadel (formerly called the Tschudi Citadel) is currently open to the public.

Chan Chan was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

The massive outer wall of Nik-An Citadel

The massive outer wall of Nik-An Citadel was originally 26-33 feet high

Entering Nik-An

Entering Nik-An Citadel through its single entance

The First Ceremonial Plaza

The First Ceremonial Plaza

Statues in the First Ceremonial Plaza

Statues in the First Ceremonial Plaza

Fish and wave motif made from mud

Fish and wave motif made from mud in the Fishes and Birds Corridor

Much of Nik-An (and Chan Chan as a whole) is little more than rubble

Much of Nik-An (and Chan Chan as a whole) is little more than rubble

But other areas are beautifully preserved, such as this wall and throne-like structure

But other areas are beautifully preserved, such as this wall and altar-like structure

Audience chambers

Audience chambers divided by angular walls made of mud bricks

Detail of walking pelicans - - don't forget, this is all at least 500 years old and made from mud

Detail of walking pelicans – – don’t forget, this is all at least 500 years old and made from mud

I was impressed!

I was impressed!

In some places, the original colours are still preserved

In some places, the original colours are still preserved

Second Ceremonial Plaza

Second Ceremonial Plaza

Thoroughfare outside Nik-An's Second Ceremonial Plaza

Thoroughfare outside Nik-An’s Second Ceremonial Plaza

Storage buildings

Storage buildings

'Road' between the storage buildings

‘Road’ between the storage buildings

Another road within Nik-An

Another road within Nik-An

Cross-section through one of Nik-An's inner walls

Cross-section through one of Nik-An’s inner walls

Funerary Platform

Funerary Platform

Inside the Funerary Platform

Inside the Funerary Platform

The remains of the Ceremonial Reservoir provided a welcome break from the monochromatic ruins

The remains of the Ceremonial Reservoir provided a welcome break from the monochromatic ruins

Another view of the Ceremonial Well or Reservoir at the heart of Nik-An

Another view of the Ceremonial Well or Reservoir at the heart of Nik-An

Workers hauling mud bricks used for conservation work

Workers hauling mud bricks used for conservation work

Repairing the inner face of Nik-An's outer wall

Repairing the inner face of Nik-An’s outer wall

Women filling cracks and holes in the wall with wet mud

Women filling cracks and holes in the wall with wet mud

Thanks to Lina of TrujilloDelPeru.Com for guiding us around the remarkable ruins of Chan Chan.

IMG_2937This post was inspired by the photo themes Monochromatic from Jen of The Daily Post, Angles from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?, and this week’s Which Way Challenge from Cee of Cee’s Photography.

With Sue, Rich and some conservation workers inside Chan Chan's Nik-An Citadel

With Sue, Rich and some conservation workers inside Chan Chan’s Nik-An Citadel

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Adventure, History, South America, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Chan Chan, Peru: The World’s Greatest Adobe City

  1. Pingback: Travel Theme-Angles | WoollyMuses

  2. Cee Neuner says:

    You have some wonderful which ways here. Thanks for playing.

  3. Pingback: Trujillo’s Colonial Heart, Peru | Jaspa's Journal

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