chan chan

Peru is, without a doubt, one of the countries with the most tourist attractions full of mystery and ancient history. Among its numerous archaeological sites is one of the oldest cities made of adobe. We refer to the Chan Chan archaeological zone, one of the oldest places in Latin America. This ancient mud city is very close to Trujillo and is one of the main attractions around. For this reason, together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru, we want to tell you everything about the archaeological complex. Within this small article, we will take a look at this incredible place and its main characteristics.



The city of Chan Chan is one of the best places to visit in the vicinity of Trujillo and is considered one of the great archaeological treasures in Peru. This Unesco Cultural Heritage of Humanity is one of the strongest attractions in and around Trujillo. This pre-Columbian city has become one of the oldest and most ancient tourist centers in the Andean country. It is believed to have contained over 10,000 buildings at its peak and was home to an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 residents. Although it is located on a desert strip of the Peruvian coast, it is believed that at the time there were numerous gardens due to advanced irrigation systems. Despite being considered a monument to the ancient world, the city of Chan Chan is not usually as crowded as other attractions. But there are still numerous ways to enjoy this incredible place with different private or group tours. Among the many facts about Peru, this city is one of the largest pre-Columbian sites in all of America. Making it a mandatory stop for fans and connoisseurs of the ancient world.


chan chan history

The city of Chan Chan was the ancient capital of the Chimú kingdom. The city during its prime occupied territory of more than 20 square kilometers. Chan Chan was built within the twelfth and thirteenth centuries of the Christian era. The entire city was made up of numerous streets, walls, buildings, pyramid temples, and other palaces. The different structures shaped the different “neighborhoods”, but the city center was mainly made up of ten walled “citadels” or “palaces”. The entire civilization of the Chimúes was quite advanced for their time, but with the arrival of the Incas, they fell into oblivion. With the arrival of the Spanish, the city was completely looted, losing numerous valuables such as gems, gold, silver, and much more. Today, the city of mud is one of the main attractions in Trujillo for those looking to enjoy tours in Peru. It was even declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. It is a must-see for those seeking to learn about the ancient history of America.


chan chan location

The Chan Chan archaeological zone is located in the Moche Valley, within the Huanchaco district, in the province of Trujillo. The entire complex covers approximately 20 square kilometers and served as an administrative, commercial, and political center of this ancient civilization. This adobe city is located just a short 5 kilometers from Trujillo, so getting there is usually not a major problem. To enjoy true tourism in Peru it is better to start by knowing the beautiful city of Trujillana, and when you feel ready, you can start your journey to Chan Chan.


If you are in Lima, you can get to Trujillo on a short trip by plane, bus or a private car. From Lima to Trujillo, there are about 560 kilometers or 350 miles. Depending on your available time you can enjoy the landscapes by bus or simply save time and take a flight. When you arrive in Trujillo, you can tour the city or start your adventure to Chan Chan immediately. To get to the city of adobe, you can take a bus to Huanchaco or take a taxi that will drop you off at the site entrance. From Trujillo to the city, it is a very short trip, so the taxi can be very accessible. Depending on your Peru itinerary, you can tour the citadel with a tourism agency or operator, who usually offer these journeys all the time.


chan chan architecture

As for the architecture of the Chan Chan archaeological zone, we can say that most of the complex is protected by high walls. Some of them reaching a height of up to 15 meters (50 feet) and have single access, thus facilitating the control of who entered and exited. The citadels had some rectangular fenced areas and are divided into three major sectors. The northern sector, which is usually a plaza that led to certain warehouses or audiences. The Central sector, where most of the buildings are located in the complex, and the South sector where vestiges of kitchens and bedrooms were found. Even the walls surrounding the palaces had beautiful reliefs with geometric and zoomorphic designs. But if you have time, you can also appreciate the architecture of Trujillo, one of the top cities to visit in Peru.


We hope together with Machu Travel Peru to have been able to clarify all aspects regarding the wonderful city of mud. If you plan to enjoy this incredible attraction, you can take advantage of other nearby destinations. You can consult with our advisers to provide you with the best travel plan for you. Do not miss the wonderful opportunity to enjoy the Andean country.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!