Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chiclayo, Sipán, Túcume

Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas in Chiclayo
After a leisurely stay in Chachapoyas, we took the night bus down to Chiclayo--a city that reminded us more of Detroit than anything we've seen so far in Peru. But like just about everywhere else in Peru, modern Chiclayo is blessed by ruins scattered here and there.

We took a 15-pasenger van (packed, of course, with 24 passengers) out to a vast, dusty site called Tucume. Here we strolled through the 28 adobe pyramids where first the Sican and then the Chimu people once lived. This is another site where excavations and restorations have only just begun, which means that everything is crumbling but also open to roam. These pyramids were in use from about 1000 AD until the Spanish conquest.

If you follow the main trail through the park, you can hike up the hill where the Spanish once executed those who refused to convert by throwing them to their deaths.

In addition to Tucume, we also enjoyed our visit to the museum that is home to the excavations at Sipan--a site where the Moche people buried their dead in the most elaborate of ways. Although museums here are often single rooms filled with broken pots, the Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipan is slick and definitely worth the visit. It's packed with  adornments made of gold and precious gems, not to mention the Lord of Sipan himself and the countless others who were buried alongside him.  You can visit both the museum and Tucume in the same day via combis. No tours necessary.

The museum that houses the Lord of Sipan in Lambayeque. Expect long lines. 

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