This adobe ancient city is the largest and one of the most visually interesting pre-Inca archaeological sites in South America.
Chan Chan was founded in the 9th century as the capital of the Chimu Kingdom, whose empire once extended nearly 1000 kilometers (600 miles) along the Peruvian coast.
Chan Chan's heyday occurred in the 13th and 14th centuries and its power ended in the 15th century when the Incas conquered it. By the time Pizarro saw it in the early 16th century, the once mighty city was deserted.
Chan Chan is immense. The core urban area covers 6 square kilometers (2.5 square miles). The extended settlement spreads over 20 square kilometers (8 square miles). Some walls reach up to about 10 meters (33 feet).
Only a small part of the Chan Chan is open to visitors, but that permitted area does include Tschudi Palace, the star attraction. Some portions of it are original, others are replicas or reconstructions.
To many visitors, the best aspect of the site are the artistic friezes depicting stylized fishes, birds, and animals.
The relatively recent El Nino climate era brought torrential rainfalls that significantly eroded the unprotected mud brick structures.
Chan Chan tours are offered in the nearby city of Trujillo.
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