Chan Chan – One of the Largest Mud-Brick Cities in the World

By: April Carson



The Inca people are one of the most renowned Pre-Columbian civilizations that have thrived in Peru. Prior to its rapid ascent to prominence, however, Peru was home to numerous other notable cultures that are now rarely discussed and receive little attention in historical research. The Kingdom of the Chimor is one of these civilizations. Prior to the Incas' rise, this was Peru's largest civilization. It was in charge of constructing one of South America's most magnificent cities, Chan Chan.


The ancient city of Chan Chan, which means "Sun Sun," is located about 10 minutes away from Peru's northern city of Trujillo in the once fertile river valley of Moche and Santa Catalina. This city was constructed during the year 850 and fell to the Inca Empire in 1470. Chan Chan was not only the Kingdom of the Chimor's capital city, but it also served as Pre-Columbian South America's largest metropolis. More significantly, perhaps, is the fact that it is one of the world's biggest adobe (mud-brick) cities.

During its peak in the 1200s, Chan Chan spanned roughly 20 square kilometers and had a city center of 6 kilometers. The entire city, from its greatest temples to its least abodes, was entirely built of sun dried mud bricks. The whole city was covered in spectacular relief carvings, sculptures, and wall paintings.


Chan Chan is a representation of the Chimú's rigorous political and social strategy. This may be seen in the city's layout. The center of Chan Chan is made up of nine huge rectangular complexes, known as citadels or palaces, which were protected by strong thick earthen walls. Various structures were established in an open area within these complexes. Temples, residential homes, and storage buildings were among them. In addition, reservoirs and funerary platforms were constructed in the fortresses. Over the next two days, he'll be on track to reach over $3 million in earnings.


After that, he'll have to navigate his way through 32 semi-monumental compounds and four manufacturing sectors for things like weaving textiles, forging metals, and working with wood. Northern, eastern, and western regions of the city are largely rural farms and a remaining irrigation system. As a result, one may conclude that Chan Chan had a well-defined hierarchy in which an urban core was supplied by its industrial commodities from the surrounding areas and agricultural produce from its farmland.


Francisco Pizarro and his men, who arrived at the site around 1532, were the first Europeans known to have seen Chan Chan's magnificent city. Since then, the city has been plundered by Spanish treasure seekers and their modern-day counterparts, the huaqueros (or 'grave robbers'). The walls and other architectural features of Chan Chan are mentioned in Pizarro's expedition reports as being studded with valuable metals. For example, Pedro Pizarro, one of Francisco's relatives, discovered a door covered in silver that was worth more than $2 million today.

Although treasure hunters are a serious hazard to Chan Chan, they are not the most hazardous. The biggest danger to Chan Chan comes from the outside world as it is entirely constructed of adobe. As a result, excessive rains, flooding, and powerful winds have the potential to dissolve the city's mud brick structures.


During the Chimor Kingdom, El Niño occurrences occurred every 25 to 50 years, resulting in the most devastation to Chan Chan. The recurrence of this phenomenon has increased as a result of today's climate, thus becoming an even greater hazard to the site.


Despite the fact that erosion has increased at the site, archaeologists are making every effort to preserve it. For example, tents are being erected in various locations throughout the city to shield it from rainfall. Finally, while some friezes are being treated with a solution of distilled water and cactus juice, others are being photographed and then covered to protect them. In the end, however, these measures may not be enough.





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About the Blogger:


April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com


To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav


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