Machu Picchu Travel

Trujillo City Center

Trujillo City Center

Trujillo is certainly one of the most magical and picturesque cities in northern Peru, a paradise in the Peruvian coast that will leave you spellbound by its colorful streets, natural scenery and historical monuments.

The city is one of the oldest ever built by the Spanish colonizers since they managed to ally with the local Chimu culture that inhabited these valleys. Also, it was the first city to declare independence from the Spanish crown, 6 month before the entire country did!

The so-called City of Eternal Spring holds one of the most beautiful colonial centers in Peru, where imposing mansions, religious and administrative buildings add up the perfect color pop for an instagram-worthy picture.

Also, the city is surrounded by mysterious and awe-inspiring archaeological sites, such as Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol and the Citadel of Chan Chan, one of the largest pre-Columbian cities in the Americas.

There’s so much to experience in Trujillo that we couldn’t leave this authentic destination in the north coast out of our travel itineraries. Would you like to know more? Continue reading and learn everything about this outstanding city in Peru.

History of Trujillo

Trujillo is located 558 km north from Lima, which would translate to a 9-hour car drive or 1-hour flight. It is the third largest city of Peru and one of the most important regions since pre-Columbian times.

Long before the Spanish arrived, Trujillo was previously inhabited by different cultures, where two of them left a deeply-rooted legacy in these lands. For example, the Moche culture developed between the 100 and 700 B.C. right at the heart of the Moche Valley, and established their capital in the famous Huacas del Sol and Huaca de la Luna.

The famous culture is recognized for their complex irrigation channels and agricultural production, a knowledge passed on to another remarkable civilization called Chimu, which originated between the 1000 and 1200 A.D.

The Chimu people were one of the greatest empires in northern Peru since they managed to establish a powerful economic, administrative and religious center in the region. Their major construction is known as the largest citadel of the Americas, spreading over 20 square kilometers.

When the Spanish arrived, the Chimu were already forcely integrated into the growing Inca Empire, which they took advantage of and created an alliance with the remaining local authorities. That allowed the Spanish to build the walled city of Trujillo, named after the birthplace of the conquistador Franzisco Pizarro.

Trujillo declared independence from Spain in 1820, the first city in Peru to do so. In honour of this, it became the capital of the Department of La Libertad five years later.

Things to See in Trujillo

1. Plaza de Armas
It is the oldest and most representative public space of the city and as in most of the colonial distributions, this is located in the heart of the city, surrounded by the Municipal Palace, the Cathedral of Trujillo, the Archbishopric of Trujillo, and many other historical and religious monuments.

In addition to the surrounding structures, the main square is also recognized for having a freedom monument that, according to commentators, “represents the process of independence of the country, as well as the most precious thing about being human, the love for freedom.”

2. Paseo Pizarro
T2his is the most representative colonial street within the city centre. It extends to 9 blocks where you can appreciate the authentic spanish-influenced architecture of the town. This cobblestone street is closed to traffic and holds many restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, and souvenir markets.

3. Huaca del Sol
It is believed to be the administrative center of the Moche (Mochica) culture and the residence palace for the Moche elite. Unfortunately, almost 70% of its structure was destroyed by the Spaniards that changed the course of the Moche river causing floods to later loot this ancient structure.

4. Huaca de la Luna
This is the most preserved temple in the archeological site. According to the findings, this was the religious center of this ancient civilization. A burial place was found Inside this “moon temple,” apparently for sacrificed warriors.

5. City of Chan Chan
It is the largest city made entirely of adobe within Pre-Columbian America. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 due to its historical and cultural importance. This ancient citadel was the capital of the Chimú Empire, which was later conquered by the Incas around the 1500s.

This ancient structure is composed of several walled citadels and palaces. It has an extension of 20 km2, located 5 kilometers away from the city of Trujillo. One of the unmissable attractions of the so-called City of Eternal Spring.

6. Tschudi Palace
This ancient temple is located within the Chan Chan archeological site. It is believed to be a sea cult center belonging to the Chimú culture. Its walls are decorated with high relief figures of fishes that face to the north and south, from which archeologists have deduced that they represented the two currents that mark the Peruvian coast: The humboldt, coming from the south, and El Niño current, coming from the north.

7. Huaca Arcoiris
Also known as Huaca del Dragón, it is another Pre-Inca structure located in the outskirts of Trujillo. This ancient temple was a ceremonial and administrative center built entirely of adobe. Its walls are decorated with murals with anthropomorphic figures that represent a rainbow.

However, due to the lack of information about this ceremonial center, there’s a constant debate about whether this structure belonged to the Mochica or Chimú culture.

8. Museo Huacas de Moche
It was inaugurated in 2010 and holds an exhibition of the ancient daily life of the Moche (Mochica) culture. The museum’s structure looks to resemble the ancient architecture of the Mochica culture. It is located a few meters away from the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna.

9. Museo del Juguete
This museum was founded by the artist Gerardo Chávez in 2001. It has an exhibition of over 4,000 toys from Prehispanic times until the 1950s. This is the first toy museum in Latin America and it holds objects that were traced back to the Moche, Chimú, and Chancay cultures.

10. Museo Casa de la Emancipación
This cultural center is located in an old mansion within the famous Paseo Pizarro street. This museum offers a glimpse to the historical facts that occured in this location since it hosted the First Constituent Congress.

Would you like to uncover the mysteries of Peru? Check our travel packages and start planning the trip of your life while you’re here. Our travel specialists can help you organize the best trip itinerary while optimizing your time and experience according to your interests!