Detail :: Data Jembatan

Jembatan Queswachaka (Inca Rope Bridge)

Panjang23,00 m
Kondisi UmumAktif
Jenis JembatanGantung Sederhana
Latitude (GPS)-14.3813820000000000
Longitude (GPS)-71.4840110000000000

Inca rope bridges were simple suspension bridges over canyons and gorges and rivers (pongos) to provide access for the Inca Empire. Bridges of this type were useful since the Inca people did not use wheeled transport—traffic was limited to pedestrians and livestock. The bridges were an integral part on the Inca road system and are an example of Inca innovation in engineering. They were frequently used by Chasqui runners delivering messages throughout the Inca Empire.

Construction and maintenance

The Incas used natural fibers found within the local vegetation to build bridges. These fibers were woven together creating a strong enough rope and were reinforced with wood creating a cable floor. Each side was then attached to a pair of stone anchors on each side of the canyon with massive cables of woven grass linking these two pylons together. Adding to this construction, two additional cables acted as guardrails. The cables which supported the foot-path were reinforced with plaited branches. This multi-structure system made these bridges strong enough to even carry the Spaniards while riding horses after they arrived. The design naturally sags in the middle.

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'a public service or obligation. In some instances, these local peasants had the sole task of maintaining and repairing these bridges so that the Inca highways or road systems could continue to function.

The repair of these bridges was dangerous, to the degree that those performing repairs often met death. An Inca author praised Spanish masonry bridges being built, as this made the need to repair the rope bridges moot.


Famous examples

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".

Made of grass, the last remaining Inca rope bridge, reconstructed every June, is the Q'eswachaka bridge, spanning the Apurimac River near Huinchiri, in Canas Province, Peru. 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. The builders have indicated that effort is performed to honor their ancestors and the Pachamama (Earth Mother).


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