The Grand Chimu kingdom developed very sophisticated agriculture and architecture skills to overcome the desert. They have also excelled in pottery and metallurgy.
For their delicate filigree, they are regarded as the finest jewel smiths of ancient Peru.
They were later conquered by the Incas. This citadel is located in the Moche valley, department of La Libertad, just outside of the city of Trujillo, an area that has been continuously inhabited for the last 12,000 years.
The archaeological site of Chan Chan - that means Sun-Sun in ancient Mochica language - covers an area of 20 square km (7.7 square miles).
It was built using clay, mud, pebbles, straw and cane, which makes it the largest mud-brick citadel of the Americas in pre-Hispanic times.
Once inhabited by an estimated 100,000 people - to put it in perspective, somewhat larger than London was at the time - Chan Chan is made up of many cities within a city.
Each of them has its own entrance, which leads down a corridor that opens up into other passageways lining walls and buildings featuring rectangular architecture: temples, residences, inner patios, administrative buildings, platforms and storehouses.
Its walls, originally a little more than 12 meters (39 feet) tall, were decorated with haute-relief geometric, animal and mythological figures.
The Grand Chimu Palace area is the place to begin your visit, followed by the Huaca del Dragon complex, where some of the original wall friezes have been beautifully preserved.
Outside the citadel are located the living quarters of the kingdom's producers and servants.
Throughout the years, the separate cities have been given the names of the architects that studied them: Rivero, Tschudi, Bandelier, Uhle, Tello.
Another remarkable achievement or Chimu architects is the hydraulic system, with irrigation canals and reservoirs, as well as underground aqueducts and ditches used to carry water across huge distances.
Chan Chan was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage in 1986.
And now let's make a short visit to citadel of Chan Chan...
The city of Trujillo - most likely to be your base camp - is worth a visit by itself.
Also known as the city of eternal spring, Trujillo was founded in 1534 and displays beautiful Baroque and Rococo architecture from its Colonial past.
Among its main attractions we find...
In the last century, Trujillo has turned into Peru's industrial capital. An energetic, growing city with vibrant nightlife.
Please give yourself at least three days to visit the area...
50 minutes flight from Lima to Trujillo.
- From Lima: 561 km.
- From Chiclayo: 210 km.
- From Piura: 410 km.