Days: 286 (7 April 2015)
Total distance travelled: 40,600 kilometres (25,217.39 miles)
Clutching our tickets from the previous days visit to Chan Chan, we piled into a colectivo (although I believe here they tend to call them Combi’s) for another short journey beyond Trujillo, intent on investigating some more ruins.
You see, the Chan Chan tickets allow entry to several sites and being valid for two days, we didn’t want to see them going to waste.
That’s how we found ourselves again bouncing along those wonderful Peruvian roads, headed for the joint temple site of Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna.
Our combi dropped us off near the museo, which also doubles as the ticket office, a short walk from the two ruins themselves, of which only the second, Huaca de la Luna, is fully open to the public.
Built over 1300 years ago (that makes this place older than Chan Chan), whilst they are undoubtedly both temple complexes, apparently the names are a modern addition, taken from the twin pyramids of the same name at Mexico’s Teotihuacan (well, so said our guide)!
The grand Huaca del Sol, admittedly having seen better days as it now resembles, at least from afar a large mound of rocks or dirt and is apparently the largest single pre-Colombian structure in the Americas, so combined with Chan Chan, the Trujillo area certainly has a few of the big ruins all to itself (making it truly worth a visit).
At the entrance to the temple devoted to the moon, we were greeted by both a guide and one of those odd looking, Peruvian hairless dogs (they were not affiliated with one another) and shortly, our tour began.
Whilst we ascended a rocky climb, our first close look at the temple seemed somewhat disappointing, as much of the structure was covered by various wooden walls and/or roofs, making it difficult to get an impression as to what it truly would have looked like.
Once within however, all thoughts of disappointment quickly evaporated, as we promptly discovered what was being protected.
Some of the most impressive, and certainly some of the oldest artworks I’ve ever laid eyes upon!
One of these had been defaced, I’m assuming over a thousand years ago, adding a small, even more human touch to the place.
These were real people, not so different to their descendants today…
We made our way through this first section, wowed by the impressive murals that had at some point in the temples history, simply been built over, so that the next level of development could begin.
Soon we were back outdoors, peering through excavated sections hoping for a glimpse of anything within, but it was the views of the area and back across towards the temple of the sun that were the real money shots now.
Time and a legacy of being in such an exposed location has certainly taken its toll on this site, but this only made what remained that bit more impressive, as one came to discover what colour and detail must have once adorned this site.
The backside of the temple was in no better condition, whisking my mind away to somewhere in the deserts of Iraq or Turkey, rather than on the Pacific coast of Peru.
Descending a long ramp along the side of the complex, took us down into an plaza, open on two sides, with the temple forming one wall and the ramp another on the opposite sides.
But it was what adorned these walls that was truly special…
This was something we’d simply never seen before, not on any of the ruin complexes we’d visited throughout Central and Southern America thus far.
Sadly the images simply don’t do the detail and the colour the justice it truly deserves.
That was essentially our last hurrah, although after we got ourselves back on board a combi, I did manage to snap a few shots of Huaca del Sol from a much closer vantage point…
* Our local bus to the twin sites of Huaca del Sol & Huaca de la Luna was $1.50 Soles per person, each way.
* Entrance into the ruins is $10.00 Soles per person and includes a guide (in Spanish).