Q'ESWACHAKA BRIDGE - THE LAST INCA BRIDGE
Inca architecture reached levels of development that, even today, surprise the entire world. A sample of this ingenuity still remains in the Cusco region. Three hours from the city, in the province of Canas, in the district of Quehue, the Q'eswachaka bridge is located, declared by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage, this Inca creation is used to cross the Apurímac River. < / p>
The material used for this suspension bridge is ichu, a grass from the highest areas of the Andes. Every year the inhabitants of the rural communities of Perccaro, Huinchiri, Ccollana and Qqewe, meet to renew their structure, given its age. The renovation of the bridge involves the performance of a ritual and a festival that lasts around four days, beginning with the payment to the Apu Quinsallallawi in an ancestral ceremony.
Qeswachaka Bridge Ritual
- On the second Sunday of June, the Qeswachaka Bridge reconstruction festival takes place in the town of Quehue .
- Thanks to this tradition of Inca origin, the Qeswachaka suspension bridge has been maintained. This cooperative work is carried out by the communities of Huinchiri, Chaupibanda, Ccollana, Quehue and Pelcaro .
- The renovation of the bridge is repeated year after year. The festival lasts 4 days and involves all the men and women of the towns involved.
- At dawn on the first day, the ‘Paqo’ (officiant of the ceremony) celebrates the rite in favor of the ‘Apu tutelar Quinsallallawi’. On the other hand, the ‘icchu’ (straw) was collected and stacked in advance by members of the 4 communities.
- The women of the communities actively participate in these activities, who have the function of weaving the first rope or ‘qheswa’ .
- In the afternoon, the men divided into 2 groups gather over the sides of the bridges and spread the 'queswas' in a straight line on the road.
- Finally the ropes are braided by the ‘Chakaruwac’ (Inca engineer) to assemble the ‘Qheswasca’ (major braid).
- On the second day, the dismantling of the old ropes that support the bridge are carried out.
- Then we proceed to tie the new braids that will be thrown from one side of the bridge to the other for their assembly.
- In total 4 thick ropes are braided which serve as the base and railings for the bridge. The men who do this work have extensive experience and are respected by the rest of the community.
- The third day continues with the assembly of the railings and the base of the bridge .
- Men must finish jobs with great effort (and risk). According to Inca tradition, women should not cross or show themselves until the bridge has been installed. This is due to the belief that women bring bad luck.
- After the Inca bridge of Qeswachaka is installed, the inauguration is carried out with music, typical dances of the region, delicious typical dishes and alcoholic beverages.
- On the fourth day (central day), the Chakuruwacs finish weaving the bridge, securing the last fibers. Finally, a cry announces the end of the hard work .
- The last day there is a festival with typical dances of the region and sale of typical foods of Cusco.
- The bridge can now be used by tourists who come to the town to experience the adventure of crossing the Qeswachaka Bridge.