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The last Incan bridge

Every year the last remaining Incan rope bridge is devotedly rebuilt.

The last Incan bridge

These handwoven bridges are a thing of beauty, an ancient ritual and an integral part of the great Incan road system. Whilst they look precarious, these traditional bridges are incredibly strong.

In ancient tradition, if anybody tampered with the bridges is was considered to be punishable by death.

Unfortunately most of the bridges were destroyed by the Spanish who labelled them the devil’s work and unfit for human interaction. The others that remained after Spanish invasion were removed due to safety concerns or simply degraded over time.

This particular bridge, called Q’eswachaka or Keshwa Chaca, is the world’s largest Incan bridge still in use.

Its ancient ropes hang high above the Apurímac River in Quehue, Peru, and is still tended to by those brave enough to continue on the tradition.

Across four surrounding towns live residents who are charged with the upkeep of the ancient bridge. The women are in charge of braiding the small, thin ropes, and the men then re-braid those smaller ropes into the larger support cables. Each household is said to be responsible for 90 feet or rope.

 

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