Home of the great chimú civilization.
The City of Trujillo is the Capital of the Department of La Libertad, located on Peru’s northern coast. Wihtout a doubt, Trujillo is one of the most important cities in the northern part of the country.
The city’s center has been quite properly preserved leading us to a centennial past, through its streets designed in the 16th century, and its rich architecture with a predominance of grand old houses, palaces and churches.
Trujillo is also an important economic and cultural center in the country, a place where Creole dances are cultivated, like the marinera norteña, a typical folk dance in the north of Peru and Peruvian paso horses are bred. Due to their nationwide importance, the main activities here are agribusiness with products such as sugar cane and asparagus, as well as the production of footwear.
The existence of inhabitants in what is today the Deparment of la Libertad dates back some 12,000 years, as evidenced by the large number of archaeological remains from the Cupisnique, Salinar, Virú, Mochica and Chimú Cultures.
The Mochica Culture (3rd to 7th century A.C.) was known both for its fine and well finished realistic ceramics in the shape of prodigious huaco – portraits and representations of regional flora and wildlife, as well as for its majestic temples in the shape of truncated pyramids, reflecting the vast knowledge of its people as far as architecture and engineering concerned.
This same area was later occupied by the Chimú Culture (12th to 15th century A.C.) ChanChan, its capital, is the largest adobe citadel in preHispanic America. This culture was also known for its excellent gold and silver jewerly and for its advanced agricultural techniques, admirably portrayed by its huge aqueduct systems, which are still used for irrigation purposes. The great Chimú Civilzation was conquered by the Incas in the 15th century.
When the Spanish Conquistadore reached this region, which was called canda by the native indians, Diego de Almagro founded the Village of Trujillo in 1534, in honor of Trujillo de Extremadura, Francisco Pizarro’s birthplace. With the passing of time, Trujillo of Peru became the political and administrative headquarters of the Northern Region of the Viceroyalty.
This region offers countless attractions, which include impressive pre-Inca ceremonial centers, predominantly built of adobe, summer resorts and long beaches, on whose waters the millenary caballitos de totora (small reed boats) still sail, sea craft.
111.5 feet (34 m.) above sea level.
Population in Trujillo
Distances from Trujillo
346 miles (557 km) from Lima.
128 miles (206 km) from Chiclayo.
182.7 miles (294 km) from Cajamarca.
Bathed by the waters of the pacific Ocean, and at an average altitude of 34 masl, the coastal strip of the Department of La Libertad is blessed with a warm and sunny climate during a large part of the year. Here, although the average annual temperature is 18° C, in the summer it can exceed 28° C; there is also a brief period of garúas (fine rain drizzle) which wets the countryside between June and August.
From 3,000 ,masl and above, the Highlands area has a dry, cool climate during the day, and cold at night, and a very cold winter between January and march.
How to get to Trujillo
It is very easy to reach La Libertad from Lima. The City of Trujillo is connected with the Peruvian capital by the North Pan-American Highway (560 km,approximately 8 hr by bus) as well as by air (around 40 min).
The typical dishes include:
Cebiche (chopped raw fish marinated in lime, with onions and hot chili peppers)
Seco de cabrito con frijoles (tender goat stew, marinated in chicha de jora and vinegar and served with beans cooked in onions and garlic).
Shambar (wheat soup with pork, pulses, coriander and hot chili peppers).
Sopa teóloga (chicken soup with soaked bread, potatoes, milk and cheese)
Frijoles a la Trujillana (black beans with sesame seeds and red chili peppers)
Pepián de Pava (turkey stew with rice, tender crushed corn, coriander and hot chili peppers).
Pescado a la Trujillana (steamed fish with an egg and onion sauce)
Atractions in Trujillo
ATRACTIONS IN THE HISTORICAL CENTER
Designed in the midst of the conquest by Martín de Estete, Trujillo’s Main Square is surrounded by the Cathedral, palaces and large old Colonial and Republican houses. In the middle of the Square, decorated with palm trees and exuberant trees, is the monument dedicated to La Libertad. This is where Peru’s independence was firts proclaimed, in 1820.
Built on a terrace, its construction took place between 1647 and 1666. Inside there are Baroque and Rococo style altars, paintings belonging to the famous Schools of Cusco and Quito and multi-colored sculptures. There is also the Catedralicio Museum, exhibiting Colonial works, particularly of a religious nature and gold and silver objects.
CHURCH OF EL CARMEN
Erected in the 18th century, this is one of the most beautiful architectural complexes in the City of trujillo. Prominent in this temple are the main altars and the pulpit, all in carved wood. Its Art Gallery includes nearly 150 paintings, most of them from the 17th and 18th centuries, many from the School of Quito. One painting stands out among the rest: “The Last Supper” by Otto van Veen, who taught the Flemish artist Pedro Pablo Rubens.
CHURCH OF SAN FRANCISCO
In this church, worthy of admiration are the main altar and multi-colored altarpieces, the 17th century pulpit (one of the oldest in Spanish America) and the cathedral from where Saint Solano predicted the earthquake which destroyed Trujillo in 1619. In the side aisles there are images of biblical personalities and saints. In addition, the San Juan School is still in operation in its convent until today, the alma mater of writer Abraham Valdelomar and where the poet César Vallejo was a teacher.
CHURCH OF SAN AGUSTIN
This church was built between the 16th and the 17th century. There is a Baroque style main altar and a pulpit made of gold plated carved wood, which is one of Trujillo’s most valuable Colonial treasures. Inside the temple there are also painted walls depicting the apostles.
CHURCH OF LA MERCED
Built in th 17th century by Portuguese Alonso de las Nieves, its facade consists of several architectural orders which overlap. The arches -each of the four curved triangles that form the dome- represent passages of the life of Saint Peter Nolasco. In the high choir balcony there is a beautiful Rococo style organ, the only one in Trujillo.
EMANCIPATION HOUSE OR CASA DE MADALENGOITIA
Referred to as Trujillo’s Civic Sanctuary, from where in the early 19th century the Marquis of Torre Tagle, Intendent of Trujillo, headed the separatist movement which resulted in the first proclamation of indepndence in 1820. It also hosted the First Constituent Congress and Government House for President José de la Riva Aguero. It displays a collection of watercolor paintings which were ordered in the 18th century by Bishop Baltazar Jaime Martínez de Compañón.
CASA GANOZA CHOPITEA
This is the most representative large old hose of the city due to its architectural and decorative qualities. Its multi-colored Baroque portal is crowned by a Rococo front and two lions, and this is why it is also known as the House of the Lions Portal. It also features Manerism style paintings on the walls, Imperial style windows, a neo-Baroque balcony and cobblestone patios.
CASA OF MARISCAL ORBEGOSO
Built between the 18th and the 19th centuries, it has kept the character of the traditional colonial house, somewhere between urban and rural, with stone floors and rooms arranged on a raised platform. The collection of furniture, paintings, silverworks and mirrors, belonging to Mariscal Luis José de orbegoso y Moncada, a hero of the indpendence war and former President of peru, are all top quality. Presently, it hosts art exhibitions on a regular basis.
CASA CALONGE OR CASA URQUIAGA
This neo-Classic style house dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The Libertador Simón Bolívar stayed here and the mahogany desk he used is still preserved. In addition, there are gold ornaments belonging to the Chimú Culture and Colonial and Republican furniture. It currently houses the Central Reserve Bank.
This is an ancestral home from the 18th century which, due to several changes undertaken, it has rooms and patios from the Colonial and Republican times. Prominent here are the large neo-Classic wooden portal and barred windows.
CASA DEL MAYORAZGO DE FACALA
This 18th century house centers around a rather large main patio, which features wooden columns, a Mudéjar corner balcony and in the inner patio, an ancient water well. There is also a highly valued stamp collection.
Built in the 19th century, this is the best example of the city’s neo-Classic civil architecture. The window bars stand out, as they are quiet representative of the architectural chracteristics of Trujillo, as well as the Italian marble statutes. It belonged to General Juan manuel Iturregui and it is currently the premises of Club Central, Trujillo’s main social center.
JOSE CASSINELLI MUSEUM
Located in the basement of a shopping area, this Museum contains fine archaeological pieces of the Mochica, Chimú and Recuay Cultures. Reservations are required to visit this Museum.
JUAN ORMEA ZOOLOGY MUSEUM
This museum, a section of the national University of trujillo, exhibits a wide variety of the assorted wildlife from the coastal and Andean areas of the Department.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF TRUJILLO
Located in a Republican style old large house, this is one of Peru’s most complete museums in peru. It exhibits cultural expressions of the varios pre-Hispanic civilizations of the Department, particularly ceramics, textiles and metal works, in addition to miniature models of the main pre-Hispanic ceremonial centers of the Region.
ATTRACTIONS SURROUNDING AREAS
This is located opposite the sea, in the District of Magdalena de Cao, in the Chicama Valley, 34 km north of Trujillo (approximately 1 hr and 15 min). This is one of the most important archaeological complexes in Peru’s north coast. It was built through a lengthy cultural sequence which began in the pre-Ceramic period, in other words, 5,000 years ago. El Brujo consists of three large buildings: the ancient Huaca Prieta, Huaca El Brujo, belonging to the Mochica Culture, and Huaca de Cao Viejo, which features embossed figures and murals. Research continues to be conducted in the area at present, and therefore prior authority is required from the Augusto N. Wiese Foundation in Lima (see Directory of Institutions, Associations, Federations and the like) to visit it.
On the coast of the Province of pacasmayo, 106 km north of Trujillo, there is a complex of 50 stunted pyramids towering over the entire area. They were built in two stages, by the Mochica and the Chimú Cultures. In its day, Pakatnamú was the most important religious and political center of the Jequetepeque River Valley.
LA ESMERALDA RUINS
This ruin is located in the adjacent area known as El Cortijo, 3 km from the City of Trujillo (approximately 8 min. Away). The structure comprises several overlapping terraces, which can be accessed by climbing a series of ramps.
HUACA DEL DRAGON OR HUACA DEL ARCO IRIS
This is located in the District of La Esperanza, 5 km northwest of Trujillo (approximately 15 min). The friezes of its walls are decorated with embossed multi-colored anthropomorphic figures and styled representations of the rainbow. This Chimú ceremonial center, featuring several stories which were accessible by ramps, was used for events related to religious activities.
HUACAS DEL SOL Y DE LA LUNA
These ceremonial centers ar located in the countryside of the District of Moche, 5 km south of the City of Trujillo (15 min approximately). The Huaca or Temple of the Sun is a scaled pyramid measuring approximately 43m in height which, according to tradition, was built only three days by 250,000 men, using approximately 70 million adobes. It was used for ceremonial purposes and possibly in administrative functions as well as for housing for the upper class. The Huaca or Temple of the Moon, located 500 m from the previous structure, is a monument comprised of overlapping temples built during different periods. A tomb was uncovered here, with over 40 sacrificed warriors. A top its strong adobe surface there are remains of large multi-colored murals, where the face of the Moche God, Ai-Apaek is depicted.
In the Yunga language, jarij jarij; in English, Sun Sun. This is an archaeological complex situated in the Moche Valley, 4,5 km northwest of downtown Trujillo (approximately 10 min away). It was the religious and administrative capital of the Chimú Kingdom and the largest adobe citadel of pre-Hispanic America. Its area was about 20 km2 and it is estimated that nearly 100,000 persons lived there. People of different social classes coexisted in its urban perimeter, as evidenced by the three types of buildings: popular, intermediate and monumental, the latter represented by nine palaces where the Chimú-Capác lords lived. Its huge and strong walls were elaborately decorated with embossed geometrical figures, zoomorphic styled shapes and mythical beings. In Chan Chan there is a kind of labyrinth of stunted pyramid passages, plazas, houses, shops, stores, walls and excellent trails. The vast system of underground aqueducts and ditches, built with greater mastery to carry water along huge distances is admirable.
This archaeological complex, declared a Historical and Cultural Heritage of Mankind by UNESCO in 1986, has a modern museum, where the history of the city and of its inhabitants is explained.
At a distance of 13 km northwest of Trujillo, near the archaeological complex of Chan Chan, is the seaside resort of Huanchaco, famous for the typical little horses of totora (small reed boat) and surf boards rocking in the sea, and by its picturesque restaurants always featuring fresh fish. Worth mentioning here are the pier and the handicrafts center, and in the upper area of the place, the Baroque Colonial Church of the Virgen del Perpetuo Socorro. It also has good and varied hotels and restaurants.
This is a resort and fishermen’s cov, with a peaceful and not so deep sea, located 106 km northwest of Trujillo. It has a very long pier built in the 19th century, which was used as the main point for shipping tobacco. Today, Pacasmayo features attractive architecture and dilicious food, such as the fish-based chinguirito. The most prominent beach in the area is Malecón. In this resort one can visit to the Convent of Guadalupe, in the locality of the same name, a building with a unique architecture decorated with Colonial paintings.
Following a 35 min trip by road southwards from Trujillo, one arrives at this beach of calm waters, inhabited by seagulls and sea lions, feturing delicious typical dishes, such as cangrejo reventado and sudado de chita. The most attractive beaches are El carmelo, Playa Chica and Cerro Negro; very close to this area is the PurPur dune, one of the highest in the world, used for sand boarding.
THE PORT AND BEACHES OF CHICAMA (MALABRIGO)
Situated 94 km (1 hr and 15 min, approximately) northwest of Trujillo, these sunny and windy beaches are found, following the detour opposite km 613 of the North Panamerican Highway, in the locality of Paiján. This is a favorite area for surf lovers, since its left wave is considered the largest in the world. The port, formerly known as Malabrigo, was during the Colonial times the point where slaves brought from Africa would disembark and the proceed to work in the Peruvian Coastal Hacienda. This was also a point of arrival for the train transporting sugar cane from the sugar plantation of Casagrande. The best known beaches of the area are: La Punta, El Point and El Bruji, the latter given this name because of the many witchdoctors or chamanes who live there.
CERRO CAMPANA ECOLOGICAL RESERVE
Located 15 km north of Trujillo and 995 masl, this reserve is a shelter for more than 220 species of native flora and wildlife, mainly comprised of liliaceous and cactaceous, squirrels, lizards and ground snails.
Chepén is a town located in the province of the same name, 117 km north of Trujillo (approximately 2 hr). The reserved area of Algarrobal El Moro, established in 1995, comprises 32,069 ha, which protect carob forests, home to the cañanes and foxes and where boas hide as well.
SANTIAGO DE CHUCO
This is an Andean town located 148 km east of Trujillo, at 3,120 masl. Its main festival, in honor of Santiago Apostle the Eldest, Patron of the Province, is celebrated each year at the end of July, with colorful traditional dances. The famous poet César Vallejo was born here in 1892. His house has now been declared a historic monument. Another attraction of Santiago de Chuco is the National Sanctuary of Calipuy, established in 1981, with an area of 64,000 ha. It preserves a veriety of animals, such as the spectacled bear, the deer, the guanaco and the condor. In addition, the Puya of Raimondi (bromeliaceas plant of 2-5 m of lengh with yellow or blue flowers) grows there.
The Capital of the Province of Gran Chimú is located 103 km northeast of the City of Trujillo. This town is known for its large vineyards and for the production of high quality wines and piscos, which can be tasted.
Otuzco is 72 km northeast of Trujillo, at 2,632 masl. It is home to one of the most important religious celebrations in northern Peru. Nearly 20,000 followers turn up each December, to worship the image of the Our lady of the Door, the town’s patron since 1664, and also considered the Patron of Northern peru and Queen of Universal Peace. This province is also important due to its production of potatoes, corn and cereals, and for its typical dishes, such as jamón serrano con yuca (ham with cassava), cuy frito con mote (fried cuy, small type of rodent, served with boiled wheat or corn), el lechón (baked suckling), chicha de jora (a typical drink of fermented corn) and a variety of deserts.
This is another beautiful Andean town, with a lovely square, located 184 km east of Trujillo (approximately 6 hr) at 3,250 masl. One can visit the archaeological complexes of markahuamachuco and Wiracochapampa, the Yanazara hot springs and the Sausacocha Lake.
Peaceful coastal town located 8 km south of the City of trujillo. Its green countryside provides abundant and juicy fruits. It is well known for it typical food, which include cabrito (kid stew), sopa teóloga, raya sancochada (boiled stingray) and chicha de jora (a typical drink of fermented corn).
Also in the Province of santiago de chuco, 183 km east of trujillo, at 3,039 masl, this place features hot springs, which waters are considered the best in the country, rich in iron and with a temperature in excess of 60° C. Its beautiful countryside has the sweet aroma of eucalyptus and other medicinal plants. It is an ideal place for walks.
The skillful artisans of la Libertad produce carved-wood and carved-leather goods, engraved with pre-Inca, Colonial and republican motifs, as well as straw articles -hats, baskets, caballitos de totora (small reed boats) and woolen items -poncho, cloths -which are needed for very different purposes.
Trujillo Festivities Calendar
January – February
January 20 to February 2: National Marinera Contest (Trujillo)
The northern marinera is a very dynamic dance, with elegant moves and a complex choreography. The couple flirt as they wave a white handkerchief in the air with their right hand, which is used to keep the pace. This dance is deeply rooted in La Libertad, and this is the reason why the contest which is celebrated there each year has become one of the most important events in the department. Couples and academies from all over the country participate in the contest. A queen is chosen and the best couple and the best typical dress are awarded prizes. This gathers many Peruvian and foreign tourists, it is the best time, really, to get to enjoy this beautiful dance. The contest takes place in the Gran Chimú Coliseum Trujillo.
27 to 30 (dates subject to change) national Surfing Championship (Malabrigo)
This is celebrated every year in the port of Malabrigo. It is one of the main events during Easter, as it attracts surfers from the different parts of Peru and abroad. This great surfing competition features surfing on the word’s highest wave; in addition, there are also Long Board and body Board races.
5 to 15 Fest of the Patron, Saint Isidore, the Farmer (Moche)
Moche, a Catholic and traditional town, gets in a festive mood each year, to honor the Saint Patron of Agriculture, through whom the people ask God for his grace and heavenly blessings for the fields. During the month of May the Saint is taken around the countryside and welcomed by his followers with the harvested products. The day before there is an artistic cultural show and fireworks are displayed. On the main day, mass is held, and this is followed by a procession through the town’s main streets, accompanied by a band of musicians.
26 to 30 Festival of teh Sea (Huanchaco)
This is the main attraction of the seaside resort of huanchaco, holding entertaining competitions in which fishermen demonstrate their skills and speed in sailing their little caballitos de totora (small reed boats).
All the month, Feast of the Patron St.james Apostle, The Greater (Santiago de Chuco)
Each year in July, there is a celebration of the Feast of the Patron of the province, in honor al Apostle St James the Greater. The festivities star out with mass during the firts few days of the month and they end with the rising of the apostle on August 2 each year; in addition, on the eve of the festival, there is a serenade in honor of the Patron and there is a colorful display of fireworks and social dances. The main days are 23rd, 24th and 25th. Among the folkloric groups or mojigangas, the pallos, the quiayas, the negritos, the contradanzas, the gitanas and the quishpe cóndor stand out, as they add life to the festivities and color as well with their garments.
29, Peruvian Paso Horse Contest (Trujillo)
This contest is organized in Trujillo by the national Association of peruvian Paso Horse Breeders and Owners. The Spanish horse, crossed with the Arab horse and raised in the coastal desert of peru, which shaped its pace and style, gave rise to the Peruvian Paso Horse. For 300 years, the blood of this new breed has been enhanced, until it developed the characteristics which have made it the most beautiful of its kind in the world.
Second week of the International ballet Festival (Trujillo)
This classical dance congregates the various ballet schools of peru and latin America in trujillo, in a festival of a highly renowned quality.
September – October
20 to 4 International Spring Festival (Trujillo)
The coming of spring fills the people of Trujillo with joy and happiness. This is why they fill their homes with decorations and flowers and hold a parade with the participation of international beauty queens.
1 to 8 Feast of the Virgin of the Door (Otuzco)
On this date, called by the people of Otuzco the day of the Day, the famous image of the Virgin of the Door is taken lowered from her altar while the public prays and leaves offerings at her feet. Then, thousands of believers hold a procession and celebrations in her honor.