Trujillo, Peru: The Temple of the Sun and the Moon

31 May

The Temple of the Sun and the Moon — more commonly referred to as Huaca de la Luna — is an archaeological site near the city of Trujillo in Peru that once belonged to the Moche civilization.

It is beautiful and intricate and unexpectedly well-preserved.

I loved it so much I went back a second time.

Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that Huaca de la Luna is a must-see in Peru, especially if you were planning on heading north to Mancora or the Amazon.

It’s difficult to put Huaca de la Luna into words, so I’ll let pictures do most of the talking.

Huaca de la Luna was magnified by the Cerro Blanco mountain in its background.

This particular face of Ayapec, a Moche deity, was very common throughout the murals in Huaca de la Luna. The representation of Ayapec and the preservation on this particular wall is absolutely fantastic as you can see above.

Huaca de la Luna also made for some interesting photo ops. This one in particular was in an area not open to the public. I was privileged to view this area thanks to Jorge and Carlos. Much appreciated.

The site involved artwork that appeared in layers as you can see above. Each layer repeated the same image in a horizontal fashion and each layer represented something about the Moche culture.

Jorge (pictured above) knew everything there is to know about Huaca de la Luna so he was our group’s personal guide. Here, in particular, was a restricted room that he showed us, as he is an archaeologist working on the site.

Another interesting thing about Huaca de la Luna, like any other modern building, was that it had graffiti. I couldn’t believe that the graffiti was still visible, some 1200 or so years later. Can you tell what kind of animal is graffitied in the picture above?

Adobe brick was used to build the structure of the temples. It was everywhere. It is made of clay making it is easy to carve things into… like happy faces. Can you find the happy face? Well, it kind of looks happy.

Currently, the archaeological complex is still being excavated on. Above, you can see Huaca del Sol in the background and the residential sectors in the foreground. The residential sectors are not open to the public (as they were to the group I was with) since that area is still being excavated, but you can get a good view of them from Huaca de la Luna.

Unfortunately, Huaca del Sol (pictured in the background above) isn’t nearly as big and as complete as it once was. Looters and erosion have destroyed approximately two-thirds (!) of Huaca del Sol, so, unlike Huaca de la Luna, it isn’t open to the public.

Go to Huaca de la Luna if you are ever in Trujillo or if you’re ever traveling through the north to Mancora or the Amazon. It’s amazing and, like any other archaeological site, it won’t be around forever.

Come on, who doesn’t want to learn about blood sacrifice and pre-Columbian badasses?

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