The Q´eswachaka Bridge Festival

The Q´eswachaka Bridge Festival

The famous bridge of Q´eswachaka is located across the Apurimac River in Southern Peru and it was built to allow Incas to pass from one side to the other of the Qhapaq Nan road system. During the Inca times there would have been laborers employed just for the daily maintenance of the bridge. They would have also been responsible for defending against invaders and monitoring who passed the bridge. Whenever Pizzaro, the Spanish conquistador, started heading for Cuzco, this bridge was destroyed in attempt to detain him. However, many years later the bridge was reconstructed and continues to be kept in good condition with this significant festival each year. The word “Q’eswachaka” actually consists of two Quechua words – Quechua is the original native language of the Incas, still spoken by many people in Peru: “Q’eswa” which means “to braid” and “Chaka” means “Bridge”.

Brigde Qeswachaka Festivals - Cusco, Peru

The Q´eswachaka Bridge is made out of traditional materials and a local herb called Qoya. It is the only “Inca” hanging bridge that still remains today. That is why its celebration and reconstruction that takes place on the second Sunday of June each year is so important. The weaving techniques have passed from generation to generation since the first inca bridge was built.

Qeswachaka Bridge- Cusco

This year the important reconstruction of the bridge will fall on June 9, 2014. This festival is necessary to maintain the bridge´s structure because it is made out of grass and fibers that deteriorate rapidly. About 700 people from the Huinchiri and Ccollana communities come to the Q´eswachaka Festival to honor their ancestors by this reconstruction. They celebrate with typical Peruvian dances and crossing the completed bridge. The visitors can walk across the completed bridge. Several travel agencies in Cusco offer one and two day tours to the Bridge of Qeswachaka, departing from Cusco on June 8 or June 9th. During those tours you will also visit four famous lakes near Cusco and you pass by beautiful typical villages.

Qeswachaka Bridge - Cusco Peru

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