12 November 2014

#740 Belgium

The largest Pre-Columbian city in South America, Chan Chan is an archaeological site in the Peruvian region of La Libertad, five km west of Trujillo. Chan Chan covers 20 km² and had a dense urban center of 6 km². Chan Chan was constructed by the Chimor (the kingdom of the Chimú), a late intermediate period civilization which grew out of the remnants of the Moche civilization. The adobe city of Chan Chan, the largest in the world, was built around AD 850 and lasted until its conquest by the Inca Empire in AD 1470. It was the imperial capital where 30,000 people lived.

Chan Chan was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on November 28 of 1986. The city is severely threatened by storms from El Niño, which cause heavy rains and flooding on the Peruvian coast. It is in a fertile, well-watered section of the coastal plain. The city's ruins are threatened by earthquakes and looters. Visitors to Chan Chan can enter the Tschudi Complex, a later citadel. There are other Chimú and Moche ruins in the area around Trujillo. This site was discovered by conquistador Francisco Pizarro.

The city has ten walled citadels which housed ceremonial rooms, burial chambers, temples, reservoirs and residences. It is triangular, surrounded by 50–60 foot walls. There are no enclosures opening north. The tallest walls shelter against south-westerly winds from the coast. North-facing walls have the greatest sun exposure, serving to block wind and absorb sunlight where fog is frequent. The numerous walls throughout the city create a labyrinth of passages.

The walls are adobe brick covered with a smooth surface into which intricate designs are carved. There are two styles of carving design: one a realistic representation of subjects such as birds, fish, and small mammals, the other a more graphic, stylized representation of the same subjects. The carvings at Chan Chan depict crabs, turtles, and nets for catching sea monsters. Chan Chan, unlike most coastal ruins in Peru, is very close to the Pacific Ocean. In 1998, The "Master Plan for Conservation and Management of the Chan Chan Archeological Complex" is drawn up by the Freedom National Culture Institute of Peru with contributions from the World Heritage Foundation - WHR, ICCROM and GCI. The plan is approved by the Peruvian Government.

Date of Inscrption on the List of UNESCO WHS: 1986

Aitäh, Mk !

Sent on: October 31, 2014
Received on: November 11, 2014

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