Peruvians from the Huinchiri community in the Cusco region are rebuilding a 500-year-old Inca suspension bridge, made with traditional weaving techniques, to link a crossing that spans the Apurimac River far below.
The Q’eswachaka Bridge has been used for more than 500 years to connect communities divided by the river. But during the Covid pandemic it fell into disrepair and collapsed in March.
Members of the affected communities, such as the Huinchiri, decided to rebuild the 30-meter (98.43-foot) long bridge in the traditional Inca style: weaving it.
Teams of workers, starting from both sides of the ravine and balancing on giant main ropes that had stretched out over the river, worked toward the center, placing smaller ropes as barriers between the handrails and the footbridge floor.
“Last year due to the pandemic it did not get stronger … That is why at the beginning of this year the bridge fell,” said the regional governor of Cusco, Jean Paul Benavente.
“But now it’s like a response to the pandemic itself. From the depths of the Peruvian Andean identity, this bridge hangs over the Apurímac basin and we can tell the world that we are coming out of this little by little ”.
In 2013, Unesco recognized the skills and traditions associated with the reconstruction of the Q’eswachaka Bridge as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“This is history. More than 500 years of a paradox in time. The Q’eswachaka, this Inca living bridge, is really a cultural expression and manifestation,” added Benavente.
“This is community, in this particular case, the Huinchiri community of the Quehue district is currently working to build this bridge that connects peoples, but also connects traditions and connects culture.”