The Incas were proud of their rope bridges. And given that the ancient people developed a sophisticated road system through the Andes, there were plenty of rope bridges to be proud of. But today there is only one.
Queshuachaca (literally, “rope bridge” in Quechua) is located about 60 miles south of Cusco, where it spans the Apurimac River. The bridge is 118 feet long, hangs 60 feet above ground and gets rebuilt every year.
The Incas also rebuilt their rope bridges every year. It used to be a civil obligation, but today it’s all about honoring ancestors and carrying on a cultural tradition. Each June, several nearby families make ropes by weaving strands of ichu grass, the same material the Incas used five centuries earlier. The ropes are then woven into larger cables that will be used to form the bridge. Other families prepare mats, also woven from ichu grass, that will serve as the bridge’s deck. Once the work is done, there is a bridge blessing, and a celebration featuring traditional music, dance and food.
You can check the sturdiness of the work yourself by walking across the bridge. There’s no cost for crossing the bridge, though visitors may have to pay a small toll to travel the roads to the bridge during the time of the festival.
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