Qhapac ñan, the great Inca route
The Qhapac ñan is the official quechua name given by the UNESCO to the net of pre-Columbian roads that connect all the Andes (currently called by the popular language: “Inca road” or “great Inca route“). Enormous vertebral column with more than 6000 km long, join since 2001 six countries of the Andes (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, center of Chile and north Argentina) around an exceptional project of valorization.
The UNESCO is preparing, in the other hand, to put the Qhapac ñan into the list of the Humanity Heritage World.
The principal route join the villages of Past in Colombia and Santiago de Chile.
The Qhapac ñan was built under a centralized system during the development of the Inca Empire, in the XV century.
That route took the empire to the land limits. Militaries, travellers and artisans have walked it in all directions.
The messengers of the Inca Empire, the chasquis, symbolized perfectly the myth of the Qhapac ñan. Those men run, by turns, permitting that the message cross the long way from the Andes heart in just a couple of days.
Those messengers was non soldiers, non professionals, but they was selected by the community to take this work in favor of the Inca, into his land, crossed by the Qhapac ñan.
From this exceptional geographic net, rest many archaeological vestiges. The road goes across, in fact, all the great pre-colombiens ceremonial sites (Chavin, Tiwanaku, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley of Urubamba), the biggest capitals of the Empire (Tomebamba, and Cusco), a lot of military vestiges, but also infinity of rural communities, old urban centers and a lot of historical colonial villages: Cuenca, Cajamarca, Tarma, Ayacucho, Cusco.
Imagine the paved parts of the road with more than 20 meters long, the flights between the rock stairs at more than 4500 meters high, the platforms with a lot of kilometers long, the pending bridges tie to the hillside canyons…
I invite you to imagine the Inca, dressed with a gold and silver armor, plumes and with an entourage of 80 men. The route in front him swept and decorated with flowers.
That permits to the Inca, control his Empire and move his tropes from de capital Cusco. The long of that route, sometimes paved, a system ingeniously organized with Chasqui Wasi (post for the relief), Pukara (forts), Tambos (lodging)…
A secondary net with transversal routes, we can compare with roman routes, with more than 40,000 km long, join the Qhapac Ñan to the pacific coast and the Amazon Basin.