The Only Remaining Incan Rope Bridge Is Rebuilt Every Year

Anna Green

The Q'eswachaka rope bridge, suspended over the Apurímac River in Peru, is a piece of living history. It is the last of the rope bridges that once connected the Incan road system, and dates back about five centuries. Rebuilt from twisted cords of grass by residents each year, it is a piece of history that is not only still in use, but regularly renewed, Atlas Obscura reports.

The bridge—spanning 118 feet and composed of local grasses—is remarkably sturdy: It can hold thousands of pounds of tension. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Q’eswachaka is the local community’s ongoing dedication to keeping it in working order.

Atlas Obscura explains that the bridge, though strong, only has a lifespan of one to two years before it begins to weaken. Since the structure was first built nearly half a millennium ago, residents of nearby towns have fastidiously rebuilt it hundreds of times. They continue to rebuild it to this day, with each family contributing some 90 feet of rope. Check out the video above to learn more about the structure, and watch an interview with Q’eswachaka Bridge Master Victoriano Arizapana here.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Banner Image Credit: Atlas Obscura, YouTube