Ten minutes outside Peru’s northern city of Trujillo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose scale staggers the imagination. Chan Chan, the ancient adobe city of the Chimu culture is simply immense, covering almost 5,000 acres.
The site, the capital of Peru’s biggest pre-Inca empire is the world’s largest adobe structure.
The entire city is molded from bricks of sun dried mud into intricate interlocking walls and walkways decorated in elaborate patterns. Some walls are embossed with animal and fish shapes, others are waffled with criss-cross patterns and diagonals that represent fishing nets.
Surrounded by 60-foot walls, the city was divided into districts of temples, palaces, ponds and tombs. Water was everywhere, channeled through a sophisticated irrigation and aqueduct system that turned the severe and barren Peruvian desert into an oasis.
Story by Andrew Kolasinski