Q’eswachaca Bridge

Inca bridge of Q’eswachaca. It is a suspension bridge built entirely with ichhu (a vegetable fiber that abounds in the Andes) It is located on the Apurímac River, in the district of Quehue, in the province of Canas in the department of Cusco in southern Peru.

The renovation of the bridge implies the realization of a ritual and a festivity that lasts around four days, starting with the payment to the Apu Quinsallallawi in an ancestral ceremony.

During this date, making use of Inca knowledge, the villagers collect the new material, dismantle the old bridge and begin to assemble the replacement. On the third day, the inhabitants begin the assembly of the railing and the surface of the bridge. After having finished the work, a great celebration begins where the inhabitants perform a festival of native dances in party mode. Finally, after having finished the bridge replacement, all inaugurate it crossing it.

The Q’eswachaka measures 28 meters long and 1.20 meters wide, being built to this day with ichu. This bridge served as part of the road system of the Qhapaq Ñan, having approximately more than 500 years. Tradition and customs are still present, accompanied by rituals for their realization. The Q’eswachaka is the last bridge that has survived modernity and continues to pass its ritual from generation to generation.

Other important data

  • The festival where the Q’eswachaka is renewed takes place during the second week of June.
  • During the colonial period, suspension bridges were preferable to stone bridges, this because their resistance to earthquakes was greater.
  • The braiding of the ichu for the new bridge is done only by women, supervised by a ‘chakaruwak’ or specialist.
  •  From September 14 to 21 the festival of the ‘Lord of Exaltation’, patron saint of the area, takes place.

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