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Inca roads and bridges

The Inca bridges and roads on the Inca Trail are characterized by being located between mountains, forests, snow-capped mountains, canyons, etc. The Incas knew how to cope with the geography of the place adapting them to them.

The Inca bridges allowed a fast movement between people, being an efficient axis in the exchange of products from different altitudinal levels of the Peruvian Andes, thus finding more than 200 bridges in a route of more than 23,000 kilometers of roads.

Types of Inca bridges:

Inca bridges were classified by type of construction and material

  1. Suspension bridges
  2. Stone bridges
  3. Log or wooden bridges
  4. Floating bridges

The hanging bridges were built by the Incas to join long distances of 50 to 60 meters, whose purpose was to cross streams, rivers, canyons. Bridges that were made of straw rope (ichu) and worked in the form of braids that allowed to hold stone abutments renewed annually, at the same time the bridge had to have railings that allowed a better passage of people, livestock and especially for the runners (chasquis) who were the ones who delivered messages throughout the Inca empire.

queswachaca puente inca - Inca roads and bridges
View of the Qeswachaka bridge in the district of Canas, Cusco.

Stone bridges were built by the Incas and were resistant to weather conditions, made in the form of arches of stone slabs and served to connect short distances and were destroyed almost totally.

Log bridges, were made for a short passage and designed for a different geography, it is supported by 2 stone abutments, with stone foundations supported by 2 or more logs transversely and subject to straw that allowed its use.

puente inca a la ciuadela de Machupicchu - Inca roads and bridges
View of the log bridge on stone foundations on the road to Machupicchu.

Floating bridges were used to transport people and their use was located on Lake Titicaca.