Whilst Peru is known for being a centre of Incan culture and their great Pre-Columbian cities of Cusco and Machu Picchu, many people associate Peru with its Andean landscape as epitomised by the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Great Inca Trail which forged its way the often inhospitable terrain from which the Andes are formed.
Not all Peruvian culture is contained within the mountains, in fact, the city considered to be the cultural heart of Peru is a coastal city located on the Moche River, near where it enters the Pacific Ocean. Known as Trujillo, it was one of the first cities in the Americas to be founded by the Spanish Conquistadors, and it has symbolised Peruvian culture ever since.
In fact, Trujillo carries several epithets due to its pleasant climate and cultural and political heritage.
It is called the City of Eternal Spring because of its mild climate and low rainfall. It celebrates this status each October with its International Spring Festival, and event which attracts both domestic and international visitors who flock to see its street parades and beauty contests.
Trujillo also holds and annual book festival and a Marinera Festival, which focuses marinera contests. The marinera is a traditional Peruvian dance in which couples use handkerchiefs as props. There are various styles of the dance ranging from the elegant to the quick paced.
The area around Trujillo was civilised long before the Spanish arrived, and there are some nearby historical sites which are certainly worth seeing.
One of these is the ancient Chimu Kingdom of Chan Chan, which is the largest Pre-Columbian city in South America. Unlike its Incan counterparts which were carved out of stone, Chan Chan is an adobe city, and it covers an area of about 20 square kilometres.
There are many facets to the city, including separate walled citadels which were similar to mini cities. Within these citadels were contained all the necessities for life and death in the ancient civilisation. They housed living quarters, ceremonial rooms, storehouses, temples, burial chambers and even reservoirs, which were fed by an extensive system of canals to make them self sufficient.
The many buildings within the Chan Chan complex contained high walls which were intricately carved, some of the walls were 15 metres high.
Trujillo has good surf beaches close by at Huanchaco just 20 minutes away and good air and bus connections to other cities within Peru.