Our first cultural experience was to Chan Chan an archeological site in between the city of Trujillo and Huanchaco. This site is known as the largest city of the pre-Colombian Era in South America and largest adobe city in the Americas. This site was the empire capital city for the Chimu people, later to be taken over by the Inca Empire. When we first got on the site I was immediately amazed by the tall wall structures. The architecture and details that we saw was beautiful and unbelievable to think that people constructed something so grandiose in ancient times without any formal construction tools or mathematics. There were structures that resembled many buildings in Europe, which were known to have gotten their construction ideas from the Chimu people.
One area in particular that struck me as interesting was their walls that basically told their story of creation. They believed in three things; the land, the water, and the heavens. They believed that the first person came from the water to populate the land, and when time came returned through the heavens. Although this is known as a desert town the ocean is in such close proximity to this area, many of their food and tools came from the ocean. It was seen as sacred and very important. With this area being a coastal desert it was interesting to find out that they also created an irrigation system, wells, and gardens. They did not officially have a written language, however it was known to have been a very wealthy city. Wealthy enough for the Spaniards to want to take control of it and steal up to over five million dollars worth of gold from the shrines alone.
To walk around and imagine the site filled with colors, people, and wealth was magical. How well kept the site was appalled me, especially with such tall structures. I had never been to an archeological site, this being the first, so I was taken away by the attention to detail and respect that was placed on this site. You could not help but feel like you were a part of something bigger, something greater. Like you were actually a part of the Chimu people walking through their city of Chan Chan.
Kennedi Dean ’18