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Unearthed in 1987, the Moche tomb of the Lord of Sipán stands as one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. On display at the Royal Tombs Museum of Sipán are the ancient artifacts and riches of the “King Tut of Peru,” including dazzling gold and silver and jeweled headdresses and armored plates.
After the fall of the Moche Empire circa 700 AD, the inhabitants of the Lambayeque region formed a culture now known as Sicán. Exceptionally skilled in metallurgy as well as a unique form of ceramics, the Sicán metal workers are credited with bringing the Bronze Age to northern Peru. Their incredible ceramics, metal work, and tombs are displayed here.
In 1987, locals were found with lavish gold artifacts, tipping off police that there might be a grand discovery nearby. An archaeologist came and found the pristine tomb of the Lord of Sipán (“The King Tut of Peru”)—forgotten in the desert for over 1,700 years—and heralded as the greatest discovery of the last 50 years of archaeology.
Home to 26 pyramids built over 1,000 years ago—with one, the Huaca Larga, being the largest pyramid ever built in the world—Túcume might be the most fascinating site that most people have never heard of. Though heavy rains have reduced these ancient behemoths to dusty mounds, important archeological discoveries continue to be made in the burial chambers below.
Here, 36 pyramids built by the Sicán people are spread out over 23 square miles (69 square kilometers) of forest. Their heavily eroded peaks rising above the branches of the dryland forest, these pyramids have housed some of the greatest archaeological finds in the history of northern Peru.xa0Climb to the top of a 1000-year-old pyramid for a panoramic view.
Historically, Chiclayo is an epicenter for the gathering of shamans and healers. Within the Witch Market’s cluttered and odiferous alleyways, healers hawk everything from dried snakes and monkey skulls to pieces of Andean condors, and you’ll find all manner of exotic herbal remedies and exotic cures, including hallucination-inducing cacti and frog juice promising virility.
Built in 1966, Brüning National Archaeological Museum houses 1,500 remarkable artifacts from pre-Hispanic and pre-Inca cultures of Peru. Fascinating exhibits include those on indigenous arts and crafts, such as textiles and jewelry, as well as ceramics, pottery, weapons, tools, masks, and a room filled with gold objects.
Poking out from a carpet of carob trees, forming the largest dryland forest on South America’s west coast, are the eroded tops of brown pyramids—all that remain of Sicán tombs once packed with gold. Archaeologists say over 90% of Peruvian gold in private collections was looted from what is now the Batán Grande archaeological complex.
Reflecting the city’s modernity, the Gustave Eiffel-designed Chiclayo Cathedral was not constructed until 1869, and despite its relative youth, the neoclassical cathedral with its twin bell towers and white cupolas exudes a sense of grandeur and stands as one of the most striking buildings in Chiclayo.
Paseo de las Musas is a lovely pedestrian thoroughfare festooned with manicured floral arrangements, welcoming plazas, and a striking monument with nine statues of ancient muses from Greek mythology and four white columns that tower 20 feet (6 meters) over the park.
The fantastically ornate Municipal Palace is a Republican-style administrative building with a festive four-story clock tower and soaring parallel arches gracing the center of town. This elegant building is so lavish, it cost 30,000 pounds of gold to build in 1919.
At the center of Chiclayo is the city’s main square, the Parque Principal (also known as Plaza de Armas). Spanning the compact area between the city’s double-domed neoclassical cathedral and the Republic-style city hall, this attractive green space buzzes with activity, music, and food vendors at all times of the day.