The Moche Huaca de la Luna is 8 km (5 miles) southeast of Trujillo. Although the smaller of a pair of temple platforms (the other is the Huaca del Sol), it is the more important, because of the polychromatic reliefs that were first discovered in 1990.

The temple is really a series of superimposed structures built over six centuries. When one temple fell out of use, the Moche simply built another on top of it, burying old murals and creating new ones, and leaving behind a mosaic of altars and walls.

Huaqueros have looted the temple, and tombs recently found in the burials were those of sacrificed prisoners rather than of important nobility, but archaeologists suspect that noble tombs still lie undiscovered.

The main temple has a 75 m (245 ft) long facade consisting of seven steps, each nearly 3 m (10 feet) high and decorated with a row of larger-than-life images. Some of the images depict humans, such as parades of armed warriors and naked prisoners, but most show mythical beings such as spiders and dragons holding decapitated human heads, or Ai-apaec, the decapitator god. Smaller temples on the site feature complicated murals of priests and animals or giant grotesque faces.  

Several hundred yards away stands the badly-damaged Huaca del Sol. The largest adobe building in the world, it was constructed with an estimated 140 million bricks.

The  Huacas de Moche  Museum.

The Huacas de Moche Museum.

Between the two huacas lies a flat area containing the foundations of hundreds of rooms dedicated to a variety of industrial, religious and residential uses. Archaeologists are currently excavating the buildings, which have been used as the model for the excellent site museum which can - and should be - visited along with the archaeological site itself. 

What our clients say about the Huaca de la Luna:

We enjoyed ... Huaca de la Luna - so much more excavation has been done since our first visit and the guided tour was very informative
— Sheila & Mike Frazer - London, UK

How to Visit: As an undoubted Trujillo highlight, Huaca de la Luna is included in all itineraries that visit the city: 

A visit can also be arranged from Chicama, as a break from surfing, or on the way to or from Trujillo airport: