Culture Ministry Completes Work to Protect Chan Chan from Rains

Chan Chan - protected wallsWork has been completed to protect the pre-Inca adobe city of Chan Chan from heavy seasonal rains, in northern Peru.

The Ministry of Culture announced the completion of the work and said that the project, worth 169,000 soles ($60,000), began in early December and involved some 70 workers. The adobe structures of Chan Chan, located just outside of the coastal city of Trujillo, have been damaged in the past when heavy rains were brought on by a warm El Niño ocean current.

Although the Ocean Institute (Imarpe) doubts there will be an El Niño this year, even mild showers could damage some of the intricately carved walls at the site.

“The planning allows us to lower the risk that could occur from rains,” said Henry Gayoso, the head of the project. “The plan considers actions before, during and after the rains. This guarantees the conservation of the archaeological site,” he added.

The project involved cleaning out drainage systems and maintaining coverings of the adobe walls.

Chan Chan, a 28-square-mile city, was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list in 1986.

It was the capital of the Chimu kingdom, which ruled Peru’s northern coast from about 900 AD until it was conquered by Inca armies in the late 15th century during the rule of Tupac Inca Yupanqui.

During its peak, Chan Chan was the largest pre-Columbian city in the Americas and the biggest adobe city in the world.

While the site is a top tourist attraction, however, it is also currently on the UNESCO list of endangered sites, not only from rains but also natural erosion and from people invading the surrounding land for farming, housing and garbage dumps.

To build up an awareness of their heritage and encourage pride in its conservation, the Ministry of Culture has implemented a new summer arts and crafts program for children in Trujillo, working with designs from the northern pre-Columbian site.

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