National Geographic : 1990 Jun
colonial church being architecture. W EARING a fresh coat of whitewash, the curved rafters and pillars of La Capilla de la Ramada, a 16th-century church on the plaza in M6rrope, display an architectural style depicted on numerous examples of Moche ceramics. The pillars and rafters of this church were hewed from the algarrobotree, prized for its durable wood. For the roof, builders mixed cana brava, wild cane, with a slurry of mud that hardened into a tough sub stance. Brava's secondary meaning of "brave" is reserved for those who would venture amidst the canes, whose leaves are sharp as surgeons' knives. For buildings of status and permanence, the Moche chose adobe brick. The biggest Moche pyramid, Huaca del Sol, was built outside the present city of Trujillo. Composed of some 140 million bricks, the Pyramid of the Sun stands 135 feet high and occupies more than 12 acres. When the Spanish arrived, it was among the largest struc tures in the New World. The houses of common folk were probably made of wattle and daub. At many sites people literally built their houses one atop another over thousands of years. For the most part, only the later examples, such as those of the Chimu and the Inca, have tended to survive.