Wonders of the Moche Route in Northern Peru

The Moche civilization was one of the most mysterious and extravagant to have existed in Peru. It flourished from around 100AD to 800AD, and its adobe huacas (pyramid temples) still dot the landscape of the northern coastal desert despite having suffered excessive looting and damage over the centuries. The elaborate painted ceramics, gold works, and adobe structures with murals and friezes all display the complex iconography of an agricultural society with a sophisticated, albeit violent, culture. The touristic circuit known as the Moche Route runs through the La Libertad and Lambayeque regions of northern Peru and includes all of the major Moche archeological sites.

It all begins in the coastal desert near the city of Trujillo (or, if you prefer, you can base your visits from the quaint fisherman's town of Huanchaco), where one finds the Temples of the Sun and Moon, in the area which once served as the Moche capital. Archeologists believe that the Temple of the Sun was the largest pre-Columbian adobe structure built in the Americas and it served as a royal residence and burial chamber, as well as a military and administrative center. The smaller Temple of the Moon was primarily a ceremonial and religious center, as well as a sacrificial site.

Chan Chan (5km west of Trujillo) is South America's largest pre-Columbian city. It was constructed by the Chimor, the Chimú Kingdom which grew out of the Moche civilization, and served as the capital. Fabulously wealthy, it contained ten thousand structures, some with walls 30ft high. The Inca conquest of the 1470s brought Chan Chan's days of splendor to an end, and the city was mostly abandoned by the time of the Spanish arrival in 1532. The Spanish formed mining companies to extract the city's astounding amounts of silver and gold.

The Lady of Cao is a heavily tattooed Moche mummy discovered at El Brujo archeological site north of Trujillo in 2006. The wealth of ceremonial items, weapons, and jewelry in her tomb suggest that she was a high-ranking priestess or even a ruler. The monument of El Brujo itself is known for its multicolored reliefs and mural paintings.

In the city of Chiclayo, one can find the museums pertaining to the most significant archeological finding in the Americas of the last fifty years, the Lord of Sipán. Discovered in 1987, it was an incredibly important find because the tomb was intact and never raided. His elaborate ornaments of gold, silver, and semi-precious stones included headdresses, necklaces, nose and ear rings, a face mask, pectoral, and more. Around the mummy were the mummies of three young women, a child, and thre warriors with amputated feet, as if to prevent them from abandoning their charge. The tomb itself is found at Huaca Rajada in part of the Chiclayo metropolitan area known as Lambayeque. (Throughout the twenty years following the initial discovery, fourteen more tombs would be unearthed at Huaca Rajada.)

Inca World Team
Publication date: 02 Oct 2013
Sources: <a href=" https://plus.google.com/u/0/107060027985626386869/about?tab=XX?rel=author">Carla Colon</a>

You may also be interested in this news