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Also known as the City of the Eternal Spring, Trujillo is one of Peru’s most important cities in terms of population and culture. This is the place where some of the country’s most important intellectuals and writers were born, where the traditional dance of the Marinera started, and the gorgeous Peruvian Paso horses originated. For travelers visiting Peru, a stop in Trujillo gives further insight into Peruvian identity.
Trujillo, Cradle of Freedom and Culture
Back in the day of the Spanish conquest, Trujillo was one of the first cities founded by the newcomers at the end on 1534. Ironically, it was also one of the first places where ideas for independence took hold in Peru. After freedom from Spain was achieved, Trujillo became Peru’s first capital city.
Throughout its history, Trujillo has survived several floods and a couple of earthquakes. Fortunately, there are still many beautiful examples of colonial architecture in Trujillo’s busy downtown district. Most of these brightly colored colonial houses feature a distinctive style of intricate wrought ironwork.
Chan Chan, the Biggest Adobe City
Surrounding Trujillo, there are numerous archeological sites built mostly by the Moche and Chimu pre-Inca cultures. The most important of these sites is the archeological complex of Chan Chan, the main settlement of the Chimu culture; which lasted from A.D. 850 to around 1470. At its peak, it was estimated that some 100,000 people lived there, making it the largest adobe city built in the ancient world. In 1986, Chan Chan was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The city of Chan Chan has managed to withstand the passing of time and erosion by rain for centuries; but the increasing rainfall brought by climate change is threatening the survival of this amazing cultural treasure. Other nearby pre-Inca sites include the Moche temples of the Sun and of the Moon, and the Huaca Esmeralda and Huaca del Dragón. Today, these sites are a growing attraction for tourism in the area.
Huanchaco, Surfing Hotspot
Located just 12 kilometers northwest from Trujillo, Huanchaco is well known as a surfing destination. In 2012, Huanchaco was declared a World Surfing Reserve by the Save the Waves coalition, the first Latin American town to sport this designation. Another local attraction are the Caballitos de Totora (Reed Horses in Spanish), traditional fishing watercrafts that are made out of reeds (the same kind used by the Uros people in Lake Titicaca). These boats have been used in the area since the time of the Chimu culture.
Finally, there are claims that point to Huanchaco as the birthplace of ceviche. It is said that this Peruvian delicacy was first made in Huanchaco with limes, chili and seaweed extracted from its coast; just as it’s still served today.
Trujillo’s beautiful and bright colonial architecture, the impressive archeological sites that surround it and the possibility to enjoy the many charms of Huanchaco make this area an ideal destination to see the marvels of Peru’s northern coast. If you’re traveling to Peru, you should consider stopping by for a few days of culture and sunshine.
Have you been to Peru’s northern coast? Which are your favorite spots there? Leave a comment, we’d love to know!
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