Inka Road Today

The Inka built roads everywhere to unite the villages of the world.
The road is a rope that binds communities and allows us to live as one family.

—Panfilo Sulca (Quechua), Sarhua, Ayacucho, Peru, 2010

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    A woman on the Inka Road, Colca Canyon, Peru, 2014. Photo by Doug McMains, NMAI.


Tawantinsuyu Today—The Road Links Us to the Past

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    Select highlighted words to hear them spoken in Quechua.

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


Descendants of the Inka today live in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. Many maintain Inka traditions in their languages, arts, celebrations, and religion. Millions speak Quechua and Aymara. Ayni (reciprocity) is still a way of life. Reverence for Pachamama (Mother Earth) remains strong.

Although much of the Qhapaq Ñan has disappeared, approximately 500 communities still use parts of it. The road continues to link people—past and present—physically and spiritually.

In the Andes, ethnic identity and place of origin are often expressed by a hat. Patterns and colors are unique to the groups that make them.

While no longer the capital of an empire, Cusco remains the heart of the Inka legacy. Many Quechua people live in the same housing, farm the same land, speak the same language, perform the same rituals, and travel the same roads as their Inka ancestors.