Photo Tour: Huaca de la Luna Ruins, Peru

I took a bus south, along the Pan-American Highway, from Chiclayo to Trujillo. A friend's cousin took us on a tour of some of the famous ruins in the area. She told me stories of how, as a schoolgirl, local people would go to the ruins to hunt for artifacts -- as huaqueros, or grave robbers -- with little concern for their value. Things have changed: these days there's much more interest in preservation, and the ruins are big tourist draws.

The ruins of Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon) face the same problems of destruction by rain and time as the ruins at Túcume, but they're a lot better preserved and restored. The ruins still have frescoed rooms and walls covered with painted friezes. More are being excavated.

Huaca de la Luna, and the nearby Huaca del Sol (now closed to visitors), were both founded by the Moche people. The height of their culture was around 400-600 CE (AD). The face you'll see in the photos is surrounded by nature spirits. A thousand years later, the Spaniards destroyed many of the faces -- as "pagan" -- though some of the faces still remain.

The first photo shows the scene around the ruins. The original film was badly overexposed; the light wasn't as bright as it looks!

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(These photographs are Copyright © 2005 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)

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