Ancestors of the Inka

Long before the Inkas reigned, there lived in these regions men like giants,
as large as the figures sculpted in stone reveal.

—Pedro de Cieza de León, chronicler of Peru, 1553

  • More

    Inka trapezoidal doorway, Pisac, Peru, 2014. Photo by Doug McMains, NMAI.

Creation Stories

Sacred Roads

  • More

    Select highlighted words to hear them spoken in Quechua.

    The Inka spoke the Quechua language, which is still spoken today in the Andes.


For Andean people, past and present, the Qhapaq Ñan is more than a road. It is a connection to the spiritual universe. It shares in the divine nature of Pachamama, holy Mother Earth.