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Chiclayo, is the capital city of the Lambayeque region in northern Perumarker. It is located 13 kilometers inland from the Pacificmarker coast and 770 kilometers from the nation's capital, Limamarker.

Founded as "Santa María de los Valles de Chiclayo" in the 1500s, it was given the title of "city" on April 15, 1835 by president Felipe Santiago Salaverry. He also gave the city the honorary name of "Heroic City" a title which it still holds to this day, recognizing the courage of its citizens.

Currently, Chiclayo is one of the most important urban areas of Perumarker. It has grown to become the country's fourth largest city after Limamarker, Arequipamarker, and Trujillomarker. The city has a population of 738, 000 while the metropolitan area has a population of 972,713 (2009 - Additionally, the city is very commercialized and has many modern characteristics as well as being known as one of the friendliest cities in Peru. Because of this attribute, Chiclayo is known as The Capital of Friendship and the Pearl of the North.

An important Wari archaeological sitemarker is located nearby.


There are many different historical accounts concerning the creation of the city's name Chiclayo. Some attribute it to an indigenous man known as "chiclayoc" or "chiclayep" who transported plaster between the ancient cities of Zaña, Lambayeque and Morrope.

Another version claims that around the time that the city was founded, the area was home to a green-colored fruit called "chiclayep" or "chiclayop" which in the Mochican language means "green that hangs". Presently, in some towns in the highlands of Cajamarca, squashes are known as chiclayos, evidence that this fruit is the origin of the city's name.

Another source indicates that the word is a translation from the extinct Moche language and is derived from the word "Cheqta" which means "half" and "yoc" which means "property of".

Others however, indicate that in the Mochican language there are similar words such as "Chiclayap" or "Chekliayok" which means "place where there are green branches".


Pre-Columbian cultures

Mochica Culture

The Moche civilization existed from the years A.D. 100 to A.D. 800 occuping the territory which is now the northern coast of Perumarker in the Ancashmarker, Lambayeque, and La Libertadmarker regions of Peru. The area of current-day Chiclayo was part of this civilization.

This culture had a high understanding of hydraulic engineering as manifested by their canal system which allowed them to use rivers to irrigate their land. This allowed them to have a surplus of crops and a solid economy allowing their society to develop. The Mochicans also used copper in the fabrication of weapons, tools, and ornamental objects.

The Mochicans are considered the producers of the best ceramic artifacts because of the elaborate designs of the pottery. These designs represent religious themes, humans, animals, and scenes of ceremonies and myths reflecting their perception of the world. They are noted for their expressiveness, perfection, and realism.

Lambayeque Culture

The Lambayeque culture or Sican existed between the years A.D. 700 to A.D. 1375 and occupied the territory of the current-day department of Lambayeque. The area near the current-day city of Chiclayo was part of the Lambayeque civilization.

This culture was formed towards the end of the Moche civilization assimilating much of their knowledge and cultural traditions.

The Lambayeque culture's civilization was divided into three phases or stages:
  • Early stage (700–900)
  • Intermediate stage (900–1100)
  • Late stage (1100–1350)

The Lambayeques excelled in architecture, goldsmithing, and navigating.

Colonial period

Parade of the Muses
In the early 16th century, Chiclayo was inhabited by two ethnic groups; the Cinto and Collique. The cheiftans of these ethnic groups donated part of their land for the construction of a Franciscan convent. This cesion of land was approved by the royal decree of September 17, 1585. Thus, with the advocation of Saint Maria of Chiclayo and under the direction of Father Fray Antonio of the Concepcion, a church and a Franciscan covenant were erected at Chiclayo. At the time of construction of these Spanish-built edifices, the city of Chiclayo was founded.

Chiclayo, unlike most other Peruvian colonial cities such as Limamarker, Trujillomarker, or Arequipamarker, was inhabited by a largely indigenous population rather than Spanish colonizers. On April 15, 1835, during the republican era, the urbanization of Chiclayo was elevated to the category of city by the then president Felipe Santiago Salaverry. That same day, Chiclayo received the title of "Heroic City". The next day the Province of Chiclayo is created of which Chiclayo becomes the capital.

Republican era

During the Peruvian War of Independence Chiclayo was not indifferent to the patriot revolutionary cause, and supported it by suppling soldiers, weapons, horses, and other important resources to General Jose de San Martin's liberating army. All of this came to be under the supervision of the most progressive creole, José Leonardo Ortiz.

Soon after independence Chiclayo was still a small village. Nevertheless, due to its strategic geographic location, in future decades it became a rail, communications, and automotive hub. In 1827, Chiclayo was elevated to the level of villa. The progress of Chiclayo is evident in the early republican era by the naming of Chiclayo as a "Heroic City" in recognition of the services rendered by the Chiclayan people in the Peruvian War of Independence.



There are currently four airlines that serve Chiclayo's international airport, some of which who offer daily service and others interdaily service. There are two schedules for this service one morning schedule and one afternoon schedule. There are flights to the city of Tumbesmarker and especially to the city of Iquitosmarker. The US airline Spirit Airlines has expressed interest in serving Chiclayo from its hub in Fort Lauderdalemarker, Floridamarker, USAmarker.

The city is served by the Cap.marker FAP José A.marker Quiñones Gonzales International Airportmarker, which houses primarily domestic airlines, chartered international flights, and fuel supply services. The terminal has a runway of 2520 by 45 square meters.


Chiclayo, because of its location serves as a point of interconnection for various cities of the Northeast of the country and has various bus companies which service cities such as Limamarker, Trujillomarker, Piuramarker, Cajamarcamarker, Chotamarker, Cutervo, Baguamarker, Jaénmarker, Chachapoyasmarker, and Tumbesmarker.

To adequately accommodate the transportation demand, the city is served by two different land terminals, one located towards the southern end of the city and another at the northern end on the Panamerican Highway.

A substantial number of bus companies have their own terminals, many of them located near the downtown of the city and in nearby areas. These interprovincial buses contribute to the congestion experienced in downtown Chiclayo. To try to solve the problem the city government has proposed a plan to build a central station in the city.

Regionally, there are various different public services such as combis, cousters, colectivos, which provide services within the districts and provinces of the department of Lambayeque.


According to the Census of Population and Housing undertaken in 2007, 574.408 people inhabit the area within Chiclayo's cities limits or the six municipalities. The metropolitan area has a population of 930.824; it includes other nearby cities like Monsefú and Lambayeque in a ten minutes ratio by paved highway. Under the thirty minutes range are, in order of hierarchy, Ferreñafe, Santa Rosa, Eten, Illimo and Tuman. Chiclayo is at the center of Chancay River delta, in a fertile valley.

Municipalities of

the city


(census 2007)



Distance from

main square(km)
Chiclayo center 50,35 260.948* 60.325 5.182,7 27 0 km
José Leonardo Ortiz 28,22 167.717* 34.641 5.943,2 28 1.5 km
La Victoria 29,36 77.699* 16.447 2.646,4 23 2.4 km
Pomalca 80,35 23,092* 5.802 287,39 29 7 km
Reque 47,03 12.606* 3.664 268,04 21 8 km
Pimentel 66,53 32.346* 9.301 486,2 4 11.9 km
Total 301,84 km2 574.408* 130.180 1.903,02
*Data from the census taken by the INEI

According to the planning director of Chiclayo, by 2020 the San Jose district belonging to the Lambayeque Province will be completely integrated with the city of Chiclayo. The district currently has a population 12.156 inhabitants. Currently most of the district is conurbanized with the rest of Chiclayo.

Education and Culture

Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum located in Lambayeque, a city part of Chiclayo's metropolitan area
The following is a list of the universities located in Chiclayo:
  • Catholic University of Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo
  • Senor de Sipan University
  • Private University of Chiclayo
  • San Martin de Porres University Campus
  • César Vallejo University Campus
  • Alas Peruanas University Campus
  • Federal Republic of Germany Institute
  • Pedro Ruiz Gallo National University is not in Chiclayo but in near Lambayeque city, 11 km distance.

The following is a list of museums in the area:
  • Huaca Rajada - Sipan Museum
  • Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum
  • Sican National Museum
  • Hans Heinrich Bruning National Museum
  • Museum of Valley of the Pyramids of Tucume
  • On Site Museum in Sipán is the newest and the smaller

Tourist attractions of Lambayeque

Residential area in Chiclayo

Famous persons from Chiclayo



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