My running route is pretty much determined by the most direct route from A to B and this does have some disadvantages. One of the biggest is that you miss some of the amazing things each of the country I run through has to offer. But sometimes running means you get to visit places that the average backpacker is not able to visit. Yesterday was a fine example as I am right in the middle of the usual bus trip that backpackers take from Lima to Trujillo.The section of road I am running down at the moment is undergoing the transformation from single carriageway to dual carriageway. This means that there are sections of road under construction. As I was making my way towards Barranca I came across such an section but this particular section had a difference as they had uncovered a Chimu settlement (1200 – 1400ad) and were excavating it. The sad thing is that once the excavation has been completed the bulldozers will be sent in to flatten it for the new road… I guess this is the sad price of development!
Just after this section I noticed a walled area on the top of a hill. As I got closer I realised it was the ruins of a fortification. I found the office and managed to find a guide to pay the entry fee (10 soles) and give a tour. The fort has been very well excavated and you have complete freedom to roam and explore. Having the guide was a serious help as he pointed out some interesting facts. The first, and this blew my mind, is that the whole fort is built in the shape of a llama! To do that over a mountain and without helicopters is pretty special!! (I have added a photo below).
The fort was originally painted in a huge range of colours and must have looked amazing. As with many ruins this had a strong focus on religion. I immediately thought of Apocalypto (Film by Mel Gibson) and human sacrifices but that is not the case here. There are coves all over the fort were idol would have been housed. The guide also added that there would have been a lot of gold.
The Chimu were eventually defeated by the Inca and they then utilised the fort. There is evidence (like the door below) of the alterations such as door frames and smooth steps etc.
After the Inca came the Spanish who are reported to have stolen all the gold and then left the fort deserted!