Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Qeswachaka bridge- made of grass

Qeswachaka, the hanging bridge located at the southern province of Canas in Cuzco, Peru. It is hand-woven from a local grass called "Qoya". It is 120 feet long and is rebuilt every year by a local community. This bridge is wide enough for only one person to pass, at a time.
Five centuries ago, the Andes were strung with suspension bridges. By some estimates, there were as many as 200 of them, braided from nothing more than twisted mountain grass and other vegetation, with cables that were sometimes as thick as a human torso. Today, there is just one Incan grass bridge left, the keshwa chaca, and just one last Incan bridge-keeper. His name is Victoriano Arisapana.  
Exposed to the weather, the grass ropes of the keshwa chaca wouldn't hold up for more than a couple of years. To this day, the four surrounding villages convene in the valley each June for a three-day festival to cut down the previous year's keshwa chaca and replace it with cables twisted from fresh ichu. Each household is responsible for bringing 90 feet of braided cord to the ceremony.
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