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As G. Wayne Clough explained in Smithsonian Magazine in 2014, the bridges were “so awe-inspiring that upon seeing them, neighboring peoples would sometimes submit to the Inca without a fight. The greatest bridges of this kind were in the Apurímac Canyon along the main road north from Cusco;[5] a famous example spans a 45 meter gap[6] that is supposed to be the inspiration behind Thornton Wilder's 1928 Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927). The imposing stone monument at Machu Picchu may be the most famous feat of Incan engineering, but those in the know are equally impressed by the biodegradable rope bridges which could be built in days and torn down in seconds. Engineering was part of the Incan Empire. The Qeswachaka bridge is made of fibres woven together to create a strong rope, and small slats of wood are used to reinforce the footpath. Might this more transient, ephemeral type of structure even be the way of the future? Among their accomplishments, Incan engineers built waterworks, including drainage systems and irrigation. answer! In closing The bridges were an integral part of the Inca road system and exemplify Inca innovation in engineering. Part of the bridge's strength and reliability came from the fact that each cable was replaced every year by local villagers as part of their mit'apublic service or obligation. California Registered Seller of Travel - CST 2115890-50. Part of the bridge's strength and reliability came from the fact that each cable was replaced every year by local villagers[3] as part of their mit'a public service or obligation. This quirky four-minute clip by Atlas Obscura puts the bridge in context and also goes into a bit of detail about Q'eswachaka itself. The builders have indicated that effort is performed to honor their ancestors and the Pachamama (Earth Mother). About 700 men and women congregate at Q'eswachaka for a fiesta that celebrates the construction of the bridge. To establish a large empire in this terrain, bridges were absolutely essential. The fiesta takes place over four days every June. approval by the state of California. An Inca author praised Spanish masonry bridges being built, as this rendered the need to repair the rope bridges moot.[4]. What were the main attributes of Incan culture? Incan rope bridges were suspension bridges built by the Incas. The bridge were an integral part of the Qhapaq Ñan (Inca road system) and exemplify Inca innovation in engineering. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. 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. Later, conquistadors would be reduced to crawling, petrified, across the swaying rope contraptions, although they could bear the weight of columns of soldiers.”. What noteworthy Inca achievement helped unite the... What was the calendar of the Incas based on? The bridges were constructed using ichu grass woven into large bundles which were very strong. The bridges were maintained by the communities nearby, as part of their mit'a - the Inca taxation system. This handwoven grass bridge spans 120 feet, and is rebuilt every one or two years as communal effort by all the local people of the region. Rope bridges... Our experts can answer your tough homework and study questions. How did the Incas show their appreciation for... Prentice Hall America: History of our Nation: Online Textbook Help, Ohio Assessments for Educators - Integrated Social Studies (025): Practice & Study Guide, Post-Civil War U.S. History: Help and Review, NY Regents Exam - Global History and Geography: Help and Review, TCI History Alive The Medieval World and Beyond: Online Textbook Help, TExES History 7-12 (233): Practice & Study Guide, NY Regents Exam - Global History and Geography: Tutoring Solution, Post-Civil War American History: Homework Help, TCI History Alive The United States Through Industrialism: Online Textbook Help, Glencoe The American Journey: Online Textbook Help, TCI History Alive World Connections: Online Textbook Help, Biological and Biomedical In some instances, these local peasants had the sole task of repairing these bridges so that the Inca highways or road systems could continue to function. Further reading Q'eswachaka: the sole survivor The construction of the Inca suspension rope bridge created of four parallel ropes (each of them consists of three intertwined cords), on which small twigs are arranged diagonally. Or perhaps you'd fancy an in-depth account of a visit to Q'eswachaka? Food for thought. If you have an hour to spare, this lecture given by MIT professor John Ochsendorf  at the Library of Congress goes into great detail about the importance of the bridges and it also examines the engineering behind them. The Q'oya or Chillihua grasses used to build the suspension bridge, … This month we look at the incredible rope bridges which made the road network possible. Copyright © 2020 SA Luxury Expeditions LLC, All rights reserved | The Incas built such bridges as part of their system of transportation. The Q'eswachaka bridge spans the Apurimac river near Huinchiri in Peru, about three hours’ drive from Cusco. Constructed from grass and other natural materials, the swaying bridges were especially suited to the Incas as they never invented wheeled transport. Over the centuries, the empire’s grass bridges gradually gave way, and were replaced with more conventional works of modern engineering. Inca rope bridges spanned longer distances than any European bridges of the same era and they were also extremely strong. Part of the reason the bridge has lasted almost 600 years, however, is that every year, the people of four local Quechua communities come together to replace the old bridge with a new one. Instead of focusing all their energies on building massive stone edifices that would take decades or even centuries to build, the Incas constructed rope suspension bridges which could be erected in a matter of days and required continual maintenance and regular rebuilding. Engineering in the Incan Empire: Engineering was part of the Incan Empire. Create your account. An Inca auth… 95 Third Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA, 94103 | 415-549-8049. Inca Rope Bridge Queswachaka Day Trip , the hand woven Inca Rope bridge is located over the River and crosses Apurimac Canyon in Peru. [1], The bridges were constructed using ichu grass[2] woven into large bundles which were very strong. Two additionally suspended ropes (they are much thinner) form a handrail and are connected with the bridge by a system of vertical ropes arranged close to each other, forming balustrade-like support for safety while … Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree, Get access to this video and our entire Q&A library. Only one such bridge remains…. The first three days are dedicated to the construction of the bridge, while the final day – the second Sunday in June – features typical music and dances and also allows visitors the opportunity to walk across the completed bridge. [7], "The Last Incan Suspension Bridge Is Made Entirely of Grass and Woven by Hand", "The Great Hanging Bridge Over the Apurimac", "Inca Bridges, a Library of Congress lecture", "Slideshow of Keshwa Chaca (Inca rope bridge construction near Huinchiri, Peru)", "The Last Inca Suspension Bridge: A Photo Album", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Inca_rope_bridge&oldid=986099945, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2011, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 29 October 2020, at 19:56. Services, Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. Repairing these bridges was dangerous, with those performing repairs often facing death. What was the social structure of the Incas? Last month this blog gave a broad overview of the incredible Qhapaq Ñan; the 25,000 mile Inca road network which held together one of the greatest empires of all time. Among their accomplishments, Incan engineers built waterworks, including drainage systems and irrigation… Four great videos about the bridge MIT professor John Ochsendorf has done tests which suggest that the cables of the sturdiest Incan bridges, incorporating leather, vines and branches, could have supported 200,000 pounds. Made of grass, the last remaining Inca rope bridge, reconstructed every June, is the Q'iswa Chaka (Quechua for "rope bridge"), spanning the Apurimac River near Huinchiri, in Canas Province, Quehue District, Peru. Secondary Categories: Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute Bridges of this type were useful since the Inca people did not use wheeled transport – traffic was limited to pedestrians and livestock – and they were frequently used by Chasqui runners delivering messages throughout the Inca Empire. This month we look at the incredible rope bridges which made the road network possible. Additionally, engineers built terraces to assist with farming and a successful transportation system that included rope suspension bridges. The book ‘ Incas: Lords of Gold and Glory’ notes that those working on the bridges often died. Instead of transcribing and regurgitating them in written form I have embedded some of the best video clips below. The simple suspension bridge is the oldest known type of suspension bridge and, ignoring the possibility of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, there were at least two independent inventions of the simple suspension bridge, in the wider Himalaya region and South America. Repairing these bridges was dangerous, with those performing repairs often facing death. Did the Incas use certain animals in certain... How did religion affect Incan government and daily... What was the name of the Incan head priest? Hearteningly, Q'eswachaka has garnered quite a lot of scientific and media attention and several excellent short films have been made about the bridge. Inca rope bridges are simple suspension bridges over canyons , gorges and rivers (pongos) constructed by the Inca Empire. Bridges often died such bridges as part of the Inca Empire as they never invented wheeled transport terraces to with. 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