Chan Chan was the largest city of the pre-Columbian era in South America. It was the seat of the ancient Chimú civilization before it fell to the Incas. It is now an archaeological site near Trujillo on northern Peru's desert coast.
Chan Chan was the largest city of the pre-Columbian era in South America. It was the seat of the ancient Chimú civilization before it fell to the Incas. It is now an archaeological site situated on the northern coast of Peru, about 300 mil (480 km) north of Lima in the Moche valley, between the Pacific Ocean and the city of Trujillo.
The Chimu Kingdom reached its apogee in the 15th century, not long before falling to the Incas. Its capital Chan Chan, located in the once fertile river valley of Moche or Santa Catalina in northern Peru, was the largest earthen architecture city in pre-Columbian America.
The Outstanding Universal Value of Chan Chan resides in the extensive, hierarchically planned remains of this huge city, including remnants of the industrial, agricultural and water management systems that sustained it. The remains of this vast city reflect in their layout a strict political and social strategy, emphasized by their division into nine 'citadels' or 'palaces' forming independent units.
The ruins of Chan Chan cover almost 14 sq mi (36 sq km). The monumental zone of around 6 sq km (2.3 sq mi) in the center of the once 20 sq km (7.7 sq mi) city, comprises nine large rectangular complexes ('citadels' or 'palaces') delineated by high thick earthen walls.
Within these units, buildings including temples, dwellings, storehouses are arranged around open spaces, together with reservoirs, and funeral platforms. The earthen walls of the buildings were often decorated with friezes representing abstract motifs, and anthropomorphical and zoomorphical subjects.
Around these nine complexes were thirty two semi monumental compounds and four production sectors for activities such as weaving wood and metal working. Extensive agricultural areas and a remnant irrigation system have been found further to the north, east and west of the city.
The Moche and Chicama rivers once supplied an intricate irrigation system via an approximately 80 km (50 mi) long canal, sustaining the region around Chan Chan during the height of the Chimu civilization.