Sunday, October 20, 2013
The last Incan rope bridge
In use during the rainy season. Reminds me of many Hollywood movie bridges that inevitably break or are cut with the hero only part way across.
The greatest bridges of this kind were in the Apurimac Canyon along the main road north from Cuzco, with a famous example being one spanning a 148 foot gap that is supposed to be the inspiration behind the 1928 Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Bridge of San Luis Rey".
The Q'eswachaka, (also spelled Qeswachaka, Keshwa Chaca or Keswachaka), spans the Apurimac River near Huinchiri, Peru, in the Province of Canas. 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. 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. In ancient times the effort would have been a form of tax, with participants coerced to perform the rebuilding; nowadays the builders have indicated that effort is performed to honor their ancestors and the Pachamama (Earth Mother).