Become a member to unlock this If you've only got time to watch one clip, this is the one: This slow-paced clip from the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian goes into great detail about Q'eswachaka's construction and includes some great visuals: This moving interview with Victoriano Arizapana, Q'eswachaka's chakakamayoq (bridge building specialist), delves into what the bridge means to Victoriano and his community. Instead of focusing all their energies on building massive stone edifices that would take decades or even centuries to build, the Incas constructed rope suspension bridges which could be erected in a matter of days and required continual maintenance and regular rebuilding. In some instances, these local peasants had the sole task of repairing these bridges so that the Inca highways or road systems could continue to function. In closing The Qeswachaka bridge is made of fibres woven together to create a strong rope, and small slats of wood are used to reinforce the footpath. The bridges were maintained by the communities nearby, as part of their mit'a - the Inca taxation system. An Inca author praised Spanish masonry bridges being built, as this rendered the need to repair the rope bridges moot.[4]. 95 Third Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA, 94103 | 415-549-8049. Over the centuries, the empire’s grass bridges gradually gave way, and were replaced with more conventional works of modern engineering. The bridge were an integral part of the Qhapaq Ñan (Inca road system) and exemplify Inca innovation in engineering. About 700 men and women congregate at Q'eswachaka for a fiesta that celebrates the construction of the bridge. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Only one such bridge remains…. This month we look at the incredible rope bridges which made the road network possible. Four great videos about the bridge builded by four Quechua ethnic groups. Repairing these bridges was dangerous, with those performing repairs often facing death. Create your account. Additionally, engineers built terraces to assist with farming and a successful transportation system that included rope suspension bridges. Inca rope bridges spanned longer distances than any European bridges of the same era and they were also extremely strong. Further reading Sciences, Culinary Arts and Personal An Inca auth… Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute The builders have indicated that effort is performed to honor their ancestors and the Pachamama (Earth Mother). [7], "The Last Incan Suspension Bridge Is Made Entirely of Grass and Woven by Hand", "The Great Hanging Bridge Over the Apurimac", "Inca Bridges, a Library of Congress lecture", "Slideshow of Keshwa Chaca (Inca rope bridge construction near Huinchiri, Peru)", "The Last Inca Suspension Bridge: A Photo Album",, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2011, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 29 October 2020, at 19:56. Bridges of this type were useful since the Inca people did not use wheeled transport – traffic was limited to pedestrians and livestock – and they were frequently used by Chasqui runners delivering messages throughout the Inca Empire. Last month this blog gave a broad overview of the incredible Qhapaq Ñan; the 25,000 mile Inca road network which held together one of the greatest empires of all time. Or perhaps you'd fancy an in-depth account of a visit to Q'eswachaka? Part of the reason the bridge has lasted almost 600 years, however, is that every year, the people of four local Quechua communities come together to replace the old bridge with a new one. The simple suspension bridge is the oldest known type of suspension bridge and, ignoring the possibility of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, there were at least two independent inventions of the simple suspension bridge, in the wider Himalaya region and South America. Made of grass, the last remaining Inca rope bridge, reconstructed every June, is the Q'iswa Chaka (Quechua for "rope bridge"), spanning the Apurimac River near Huinchiri, in Canas Province, Quehue District, Peru. Constructed from grass and other natural materials, the swaying bridges were especially suited to the Incas as they never invented wheeled transport. What noteworthy Inca achievement helped unite the... What was the calendar of the Incas based on? Two additionally suspended ropes (they are much thinner) form a handrail and are connected with the bridge by a system of vertical ropes arranged close to each other, forming balustrade-like support for safety while … This quirky four-minute clip by Atlas Obscura puts the bridge in context and also goes into a bit of detail about Q'eswachaka itself. Copyright © 2020 SA Luxury Expeditions LLC, All rights reserved | Secondary Categories: Part of the bridge's strength and reliability came from the fact that each cable was replaced every year by local villagers as part of their mit'apublic service or obligation. The construction of the Inca suspension rope bridge created of four parallel ropes (each of them consists of three intertwined cords), on which small twigs are arranged diagonally. Several family groups have each prepared a number of grass-ropes to be formed into cables at the site; others prepare mats for decking, and the reconstruction is a communal effort. approval by the state of California. In some instances,[citation needed] these local peasants had the sole task of repairing these bridges so that the Inca highways or road systems could continue to function. Incan rope bridges were suspension bridges built by the Incas. Constructed from grass and other natural materials, the swaying bridges were especially suited to the Incas as they never invented wheeled transport. Even though there is a modern bridge nearby, the residents of the region keep the ancient tradition and skills alive by renewing the bridge annually in June. The book ‘ Incas: Lords of Gold and Glory’ notes that those working on the bridges often died. If, like us, you're now utterly fascinated by Inca rope bridges you'll be pleased to know that there is quite a lot written on the subject: How about an interview with Victoriano Arizapana? The Andes mountain range is a place of enormous cliffs, raging torrents and terrifying canyons. This handwoven grass bridge spans 120 feet, and is rebuilt every one or two years as communal effort by all the local people of the region. Or a slideshow of the construction of a replica bridge on the National Mall in Washington DC? The Q'oya or Chillihua grasses used to build the suspension bridge, … Peru, The Great Inca Trail, Videos, The vast Inca road network relied on about 200 rope bridges to traverse the steep valleys and canyons of the Andes. How did the Incas show their appreciation for... 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Wayne Clough explained in Smithsonian Magazine in 2014, the bridges were “so awe-inspiring that upon seeing them, neighboring peoples would sometimes submit to the Inca without a fight. Inca rope bridges are simple suspension bridges over canyons , gorges and rivers (pongos) constructed by the Inca Empire. Food for thought. [1], The bridges were constructed using ichu grass[2] woven into large bundles which were very strong. If you have an hour to spare, this lecture given by MIT professor John Ochsendorf  at the Library of Congress goes into great detail about the importance of the bridges and it also examines the engineering behind them. To establish a large empire in this terrain, bridges were absolutely essential. Although a new metal bridge was built nearby for cars to cross the river, surrounding residents have continued using the old rope bridge to cross on foot for trade and social visits. What was the social structure of the Incas? Repairing these bridges was dangerous, with those performing repairs often facing death. The first three days are dedicated to the construction of the bridge, while the final day – the second Sunday in June – features typical music and dances and also allows visitors the opportunity to walk across the completed bridge. All rights reserved. Services, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. This month we look at the incredible rope bridges which made the road network possible. Might this more transient, ephemeral type of structure even be the way of the future? What were the main attributes of Incan culture? The greatest bridges of this kind were in the Apurímac Canyon along the main road north from Cusco;[5] a famous example spans a 45 meter gap[6] that is supposed to be the inspiration behind Thornton Wilder's 1928 Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927). California Registered Seller of Travel - CST 2115890-50. Hearteningly, Q'eswachaka has garnered quite a lot of scientific and media attention and several excellent short films have been made about the bridge. The bridges were constructed using ichu grass woven into large bundles which were very strong. lecture given by MIT professor John Ochsendorf  at the Library of Congress, in-depth account of a visit to Q'eswachaka. Engineering was part of the Incan Empire. Later, conquistadors would be reduced to crawling, petrified, across the swaying rope contraptions, although they could bear the weight of columns of soldiers.”. Inca Rope Bridge Queswachaka Day Trip , the hand woven Inca Rope bridge is located over the River and crosses Apurimac Canyon in Peru. Q'eswachaka: the sole survivor The Incas built such bridges as part of their system of transportation. The imposing stone monument at Machu Picchu may be the most famous feat of Incan engineering, but those in the know are equally impressed by the biodegradable rope bridges which could be built in days and torn down in seconds.

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