LA LIBERTAD CITY
The Department of La Libertad is located in the north of the country, extending from the Coast up to the High Jungle or Mountain Rim. It borders to the north with Cajamarca, to the south with Huanuco and Ancash, to the East with San Martin, and to the West with the Pacific Ocean. On the Coast, the climate is warm and spring like, with an annual average temperature of 19.9ºC/66ºF. In the Sierra, the weather is dry, mild during the day and cold at night; in the Jungle, it is tropical and rainy, with temperatures that surpass 24ºC/75ºF.
La Libertad has an extension of 24,241 km² and a population of over 1’200,000 people. The capital is Trujillo, known as the City of Eternal Spring, due to its pleasant climate. Other important cities are Pacasmayo, Santiago de Chuco, Otuzco, and Huamachuco.
A Brief History
In the Department of La Libertad vestiges of the first most significant pre-Hispanic groups of the northern region have been found. Great civilizations, as the Mochica culture, flourished in the valleys of Moche, Chicama, and Viru from the third to the eighth centuries AD. The so-called ‘realistic ceramics,’ including the famous huacos-retratos or portrait-ceramincs belong to this period. Also to this period belong the huacas or ‘pyramidal tombs,’ which exhibit a great knowledge of architecture.
From the 12th to the 15 th centuries, the region witnessed the great evolution of the Chimu culture. Chan Chan, the capital, was the largest clay metropolis of pre-Hispanic America and the second in the world. This civilization also stood out for its excellent work in metal, mainly gold, and it’s advanced farming techniques, displayed in a large system of aqueducts. After finding great resistance, the Incas finally managed conquest this reign in the 14th century.
Trujillo was founded at the arrival of the Spanish to the valley, late in the year 1534, receiving in 1537 the title of ‘city.’ It stood among the most important cities of the Viceroyalty when it developed into one of the richest regions in the north, as testified by its beautiful and rich mansions.
Main Attractions in La Libertad
The largest clay city of pre-Columbian America, was the capital of the Chimu Empire, dates from 1,100 AC and was built in an area of 20 square km. It has an extension of 20 km² and had an estimated population of 60,000 people. The ruins include plazas, housing, warehouses, workshops, labyrinths, walls, excellent roads, and pyramidal tombs or huacas.
It is considered the largest in the country, with a granite and marble monument in honor of the heroes of the independence standing in the center.
First built in 1666 and destroyed by an earthquake in 1759, was restored between 1768 and 1781. It houses a valuable collection of paintings of the Cusco style.
El Carmen Monastery
Built in 1724, this fine architectural complex is one of the richest in the northern part of the country. It contains around 150 paintings, most of them belonging to the 12th and 13th centuries.
Santa Clara and San Agustin churches
Built in 1548 and 1558 respectively, both churches house fine carved wood altars, paintings and samples of baroque architecture.
Having been a city of great Spanish influence, the Colonial mansions built in Trujillo during the first years of the Republic preserve traits of Colonial architecture in their large patios, ample parlors, sober façades, and beautiful window gratings. Most outstanding among these Republican mansions are Palacio Iturregui, Casa de Mayorazgo, Casa Urquiaga, Casa Bracamonte and Casa Ganoza.
The most important are the Archaeological Museum of the University of Trujillo and the Jose Cassinelli private collection.
La Compañia Church
This church with beautiful arcades dates from the 17th century and was part of the Jesuit convent.
The Sun and Moon Temples
This archaeological group of adobe pyramids dates from the Mochica period (4th to 10th century). The Moon Temple (Huaca de la Luna) was built with more than fifty million adobe bricks.
An ancient port of the Colonial period, it is a very popular beach today, where local fishermen still use the ‘caballitos de totora’ or totora reed boats that were ridden by the Mochicas and Chimus for fishing.
El Brujo Archeological Complex
This complex is located 60 km from Trujillo covering 6 hectares and dates from 3000 BC. Its main section is a 90-foot high-truncated pyramid. It also presents some of the best friezes in the area, including stylized designs of fish, priests and human sacrifices. There are also many burial sites from the Lambayeque culture, which followed the Moche.