I had a spare day in Trujillo, since my onward bus left late in the evening, so went to see this site, which is not a World Heritage Site but is just as worthy of a visit as Chan Chan, if not more so. It comprises two large adobe pyramidal structures, the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna (‘huaca’ means temple or shrine, I’m sure you can work out ‘sol’ and ‘luna’ by yourselves).
These structures, along with the city they were once part of, were the capital of the Moche culture, which flourished between 100AD and 800AD, just prior to the Chimu (builders of Chan Chan, do keep up). Huaca del Sol was the larger of the two and is thought to have been the administrative centre of the city whilst the Huaca de la Luna was the religious and ceremonial one. It is the latter that is visitable and undergoing excavation and restoration.
A big difference from Chan Chan is the decoration – here it is brightly painted.
There is one huge external wall, only discovered a few years ago, that has a glorious set of horizontal friezes, each depicting a different repeating figure or creature.
Internally, a lot of wall paintings are in excellent condition as a result of the way in which the builders regularly enlarged the structure: filling the rooms and courtyards with stacks of mud bricks and then building exactly the same thing, only slightly bigger, on top. The excavations allow you to see two or three layers simultaneously in places.
There is a very well presented museum close to the site, which shows some fine pottery amongst other artefacts and has intelligent multi-lingual interpretation. Unfortunately photography was not allowed but you can see some good pot pictures on the Wikipedia page for the Moche culture.
Huaca de la Luna is built at the bottom of a small pointy mountain and where they meet was the site of human sacrifices, a fact known both from the skeletons unearthed there and the depiction of the rituals in Moche art. It would seem that the bodies of victims (all adult males) were thrown from rocks and left out to rot.
This is a site you are only allowed to visit with a guide, but they do have English language tours which makes that less irritating. On my tour there were just the guide, me and a French couple plus a friendly site dog following us around – an example of an odd looking local breed, the Peruvian hairless dog, known to have been around in pre-Inca times.
As this is not a UNESCO listed site, there is no Lego model – please don’t complain.