Making the bridge at Q’eswachaka, Peru


Rebuilt every two years since the time of the Incas, the Q'eswachaka Bridge in Peru is a shining example of engineering, workmanship & collaboration

 

 

Two communities from either side of the river join together and painstakingly rebuild the bridge over a three day period. Local grasses are twisted to form cords which are then woven into ropes and these ropes are braided to form large cables. Each rope is constructed from thirty of the small cords. Three of the ropes make one cable. Both communities stretch and twist the cables to strengthen them and then they are carried down to where it will be installed.

Using the old bridge as a means of running the first new cable, this is then cut down where it falls to be washed away by the river. The communities continue to pull on the new cables throughout the day, preparing them for the new bridge. The cables are then anchored to stone abutments on either side of the canyon. The architect of the bridge uses traditional weaving methods that have been passed down from his family through the centuries.

Four cables form the floor and two are used for the handrails. The weaving begins from either side until they meet in the middle. When finished, the two communities join together and celebrate its completion.

Although it doesn't appear so, the bridge is surprisingly strong and is able to support dozens of people. Just goes to show what community spirit can do!

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