Peru’s ancient civilizations come to life at the Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon). Admire this ancient architectural masterpiece and examine its collection of superbly preserved frescoes. The pyramid temple is part of the Huacas de Moche, an archaeological complex that was once the center of the Moche culture. The site dates back to the late 5th and early 6th centuries and also includes the Huaca del Sol (Temple of the Sun) and a museum.
Huaca de la Luna is the smaller of the archeological site’s two temples and is made entirely of earth. The structure used to be a lot bigger and was a series of rooms and patios that were built over 600 years. Step inside to discover a striking display of friezes. Study these colorful wall paintings and see depictions of animal spirits, including fish and serpents. Look for the anthropomorphic faces with feline fangs, recurring images in Moche culture. They are representations of the decapitador, a powerful deity.
Go to the rooms behind the temple where there are more multicolored paintings. Then climb to the summit of the building for panoramic views of the entire Huaca de Moche complex and the surrounding countryside.
While you are here, check out the Huaca del Sol, one of the biggest adobe structures in the Americas. Although not open to visitors, it’s worth standing at the base to appreciate its enormity. Afterwards, visit the Museum of the Moche Temples to see presentations about the Moche culture and ancient artifacts. Among the items are collections of pottery and a small gold leaf-covered garment that was used in rituals.
The Huaca de la Luna and Huacas de Moche complex is about a 15-minute drive or 30-minute bus journey south from Trujillo’s city center. For drivers, there is a large on-site parking lot.
The complex is open daily and there are separate admission fees for the temples and museum. The ticket price includes an English- or Spanish-speaking guide.