Chiclayo, originally, was just a stop to break up a horrifying 22h bus trip from Chachapoyas to Lima. It definitely merits a visit in its own rights though.
The city itself is not very reknown, however the closeby archeological site of Sipan, Lambayeque and Tucume are world famous. The area was inhabited by the Moche and the Lambayeque (or Sipan) culture, which built huge pyramids and burried their important deaths with an insane amount of jewels and sacrificed persons.
The fame of the area is still very young and all sites are still being excavated. The story of the pyramids in Sipan are quite extra ordinary. It starts with grave robbers discovering the tomb of a moderately important warrior and looting it. The items they sold made some archeologues suspicious who started investigating the origin of the pieces. This ultimately lead them to the pyramid. They informed the government, which consequently protected the area from looters and started excavating. Within a year they found the grave on the left of an important Moche leader, the lord of Sipan. He was burried with 8 sacrificed persons: 2 guards, which got their feet cut off so they couldn’t walk of to the next life, 3 women one probably his wife and the other two presumably his lovers, 2 important warriors of his own age and a small child. In addition he was burried with a huge amount of pottery and jewelry. Shortly thereafter they also discovered the tomb of an important priest, which had received lots of gifts in death (visible on the right). These are the two most important tombs of the 20 found so far. The excavations continue and a new tomb is discovered every few years.
All of the originals, including the human remains, of the Lord of Sipan and the priest are visitable in the incredible royal museum in Lambayeque. A very beautiful and impressive museum (that didn’t let me take any pictures >.>). The jewelry given to these people was completely restaurated and is now shown in several separate rooms, explaining its use and the restauration process on the respective items. Even though every room is impressive and displays unique and rare items, my personal favourite was the last room, which isn’t even directly connected to the priest nor the lords of sipan. It features 3 casings, one containing the items that looters returned deliberately to the police, one containing the items the police discovered during raids in the looters home and the final one features the items found in a diplomat’s baggage at the airport.
Tucume is another set of pyramids, 26 to be exact, as can be seen on the model on the left handside . The right handside can give you an idea of what remains today, it shows the big pyramid visible in the upper left part of the model. Excavation have just started (eg under the big roof on the left side.) and the remains found don’t match the ones from Sipan for example, however the site impresses by its sheer size and there’s a conveniently located hill which can be climbed to gaze upon the left overs of those pyramids. Although I will admit that it is not easy to recognize them as former pyramids nowadays.