Location, Size and Population
Chiclayo is the capital of the department of Lambayeque. It is a thriving city, economic and commercial center as well as being a tourist center on the northern coast of Peru. With permanent warm weather, sunny all year round no rain, it is located very near the sea and in a fertile valley where agricultural activities are very important, especially the production of rice, sugarcane and cotton. It is a strategic point in the center of different road links in north-eastern Peru.
During the colonial period (C.XVI), it was a mere village of Indians and mestizos on the road between Lambayeque and Zana and was baptized with “Santa María de los Valles” as patron de Chiclayo. It has no colonial buildings, but today is a city in process of full development and has the good fortune of being in the center of a rich pre-Inca archaeological site where the Moche culture developed (C.I – VII BC) as well as and the Lambayeque culture (C.VII – X AD). All of this has been enriched by the recent spectacular archaeological discoveries such as ‘The Lord of Sipan’ in ‘Huaca Rajada’ (archeological ruins), ‘The Lord of Sican’ in ‘Batan Grande and the ‘placement the tucume pyramids. This has been magnified with the opening of the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, which houses a collection of treasures and archaeological remains of immeasurable value. As a result, Chiclayo has become the 2nd most popular destination in Peru for cultural and archaeological tourism, second only to Cuzco.
The warmth and kindness of its people have earned it the title of “the capital of friendship”. Being very religious and devoted to “the Cross of Chalpon,” it’s citizens meet every year at a big festival in Motupe, attended by thousands of Pilgrims that come from all over Peru.
Legend has it that in ancient times a large fleet of strange rafts manned by a brilliant cortege of foreign warriors arrived at the beaches of the present day San José cove. They were led by a man of great talent and courage called Naylamp who founded a great empire.
Their descendants are the great metal forgers of the Chimu culture, born in Lambayeque before the Inca Empire, and developed to acquire a notable state parallel to the Inca but, unlike the Inca, moved its capital to more propitious and strategic zones, establishing great urban centers. They were great farmers, textile workers, and above all, wonderful metal smiths with extraordinary works in gold.
The conquest of what today is Lambayeque, was in the hands of the Incas for nearly four decades, being controlled by the Incas Pachacutec, Yupanqui and Huayna Capac.
When Francisco Pizarro crossed the region on his way to Cajamarca to conclude the defeat of the empire, he was amazed by the gold used to make vases and utensils.
During the colonial era, rivalry broke out between the people of Lambayeque and Santiago de Miraflores of Sana, the opulence of the latter prompting even the greed of the pirates. A flood in 1720 destroyed Saña but ended with creating a flourishing city.
In the emancipation and independence, the people of Lambayeque had as their leader Juan Manuel Iturregui, a patriot who spread the libertarian ideas and helped to import arms for the cause.
Two courageous sons, Elias Aguirre and Diego Ferré, gave their lives aboard the Monitor Huascar in the battle of Angamos.
Main attractions of the city of Chiclayo
Hundreds of archaeological sites are located in the valleys of Zana, Lambayeque, La Leche and the Motupe area where pre-Inca cultures such as Lambayeque, Sican, Mochica and Chimu developed, until the arrival of the Incas. It is in these valleys where much of the gold jewelry has been discovered that today makes up the fabulous collection in the Museum of Gold in Lima. Amongst these discoveries were ‘The Lord of Sican’ of Batan Grande, the pyramids of Túcume and Huaca Rajada where they found the Lord of Sipan, which was one of the most important archaeological discoveries of twentieth-century America.
Royal Tombs of Sipan
On 9 August 2002, on the outskirts of Chiclayo, Lambayeque Peru, was inaugurated a new museum. The Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum displays the most important archaeological finds of the Mochica culture, in an exceptional exhibition that combines maximum scientific accuracy and security highlighting emblems of jewelry and ornaments found in 1987 in the tomb of the Moche ruler called ‘the Lord of Sipan’.
Bruning Archaeological Museum
Research center and museum, located in Lambayeque 17 km (10.5 miles) north of Chiclayo and close to the Royal Tombs. It originated from the collection compiled by Heinrich Brüning since the nineteenth century and houses a rich collection of pottery, metal, textiles and jewelry of the regional pre-Incan cultures.
National Museum of Sican
Located in Ferreñafe, it was inaugurated in may 2000. It is a research and protection center of the archeological discoveries of the Sicán and Lambayeque cultures (750 – 1150 AC). It boasts exhibitions of pieces of the Sicán cultures and pieces of the fabulous ‘Lord of Sicán’, such as ceramics, metal works jewelry recreating their form of life.