Q’eswachaka: The Last Inca Bridge Still In Use After 6 Centuries


The Q’eswachaka is a bridge with incredible architectural wonder. It’s 30 meters long and is more than five centuries old.

The civil engineer and cultural heritage manager Carmen Arróspide describes what it feels like to walk on it saying that it is like being suspended in the air. Unesco also describes it as an example of the continuity of an existing cultural tradition since pre-Hispanic times.

“At more than 3,700 meters above sea level, on a gorge of the Apurímac River, in the region of Cusco, this rope bridge, completely woven by hand, has remained standing for at least 600 years thanks to an Inca tradition handed down from generation to generation”, said the BBC.

Every June a ritual takes place where all of the families of the region participate in the act of re-weaving the bridge. It is the only Inca bridge so far that has survived modernity.

“Each year they change it according to tradition,” Felipe Cerdán, of the National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation of Peru (Concytec) told BBC Mundo.

It is a process that lasts three days and concludes with a festival with native dances by the inhabitants of four communities: Huinchiri, Chaupibanda, Qollana Quehue and Chocayhua.

Tales as old as the 1500s describe these bridges which allowed people to cross rivers and canyons.

The Q’eswachaka was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in December 2013. It forms part of the old road network, the huge system (Qhapaq Ñan, in Quechua) that linked the most important cities and towns of the Inca Empire, a vast territory of more than two million square kilometers.

(Cover Photo Flickr)

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Ermelinda is a journalist from Caracas, Venezuela. She has a Master’s degree in Digital Journalism and has recently finished a technical degree in Veterinary Assistance because of her love for animals. She likes to do sports, but especially ballet, which she has practiced for more than 17 years. Her passion is to read, write, and blog about different topics, as well as travel whenever she can.