From top: Chan chan view, capital of Kingdom Chimu, Chan chan walls, Adobe detail at Chan Chan, Panel of warriors detail of wall , Pelican in chan chan, Chan Chan Model, a wall in Chan Chan
|Location||La Libertad Region, Peru|
|Official name||Chan Chan Archaeological Zone|
|Designated||1986 (10th session)|
|Region||Latin America and the Caribbean|
The largest Pre-Columbian city in South America, Chan Chan is an archaeological site in the Peruvian region of La Libertad, 5 km west of Trujillo. Chan Chan was the capital of the historical Chimú culture.
Chan Chan covers 20 km² and had a dense urban center of 6 km².
Chan Chan is in a fertile, well-watered section of the coastal plain.
Chan Chan was constructed by 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 850 CE and lasted until its conquest by the Inca Empire in 1470. It was the imperial capital where 30,000 people lived.
World Heritage Site
In 1998, The "Master Plan for Conservation and Management of the Chan Chan Archeological Complex" was drawn up by the Freedom National Culture Institute of Peru with contributions from the World Heritage Foundation - WHR, ICCROM, and GCI. The plan was approved by the Peruvian Government.
The city has ten walled citadels which housed ceremonial rooms, burial chambers, temples, reservoirs and residences. It is triangular, surrounded by 50–60-foot (15–18 m) 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. The two styles of carving design include a realistic representation of subjects such as birds, fish, and small mammals, as well as 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.
To increase the farmland surrounding the city, a vast network of canals diverting water from the Moche river was created. It was only with these canals that the city's population could increase. Before the canals, the city relied on wells dug up to 15 meters deep. Many canals to the north were destroyed by a catastrophic flood c. 1100 CE, which was likely the key motivation for the Chimú to refocus their economy to one rooted in foreign resources rather than in subsistence farming.
The city's ruins are also threatened by earthquakes and looters.
- The Smithonian Staff (March 2010), "10 Must-See Endangered Cultural Treasures", Smithsonian 39 (12): 35 - Chan Chan, Peru, End of an Empire by Bruce Hathaway
- Moore, J. D. (2005). Cultural Landscapes in the Ancient Andes. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
- Otto Holstein (1927). Chan-Chan: Capital of the Great Chimu. Geographical Review 17 (1, January 1927): 36–61. doi:10.2307/208132 (subscription required)
- "Chan Chan la ciudadela de barro que resiste al paso del tiempo". Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- The Inca World: The development of pre-Columbian Peru, A.D. 1000-1534 by Laura Laurencich Minelli, Cecilia Bákula, Mireille Vautier – Google Books
- Endangered Site: Chan Chan, Peru
- Climate Change: Sites in Peril
- Kubler, George. (1962). The Art and Architecture of Ancient America, Ringwood: Penguin Books Australia Ltd., pp. 247–274.
- Michael West (1970). Community Settlement Patterns at Chan Chan, Peru. American Antiquity 35 (1, January 1970): 74–86. doi:10.2307/278179 (subscription required)
- Richard W. Keatinge, Kent C. Day (1973). Socio-Economic Organization of the Moche Valley, Peru, during the Chimu Occupation of Chan Chan. Journal of Anthropological Research 29 (4, Winter 1973): 275–295. doi:10.2307/3629879 (subscription required)
- John R. Topic, Michael Edward Moseley (1983). Chan Chan: a case study of urban change in Peru. Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of Andean Archaeology 21: 153–182. doi:10.2307/3629879 (subscription required)
- Richard L. Smailes (2011). Building Chan Chan: a project management perspective. Latin American Antiquity 22 (1, March 2011): 37–63. doi:10.2307/23072515 (subscription required)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chan Chan.|
- UNESCO World Heritage Center: Chan Chan
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