When the Spanish conquerors first saw the Great Inka Road, they were amazed by its size and complexity and the ability of the Inka to manage and maintain such a massive road network. To this day, scientists and engineers marvel at the sophistication of the Inka road system and the fact that it has survived for over five hundred years.
Guaman Poma Lithographs
Lithographs from Guaman Poma de Ayala illustrate who used the Great Inka Road and for what purpose. Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, (ca. AD 1535-1616) was a Quechua Indian known for chronicling and denouncing the ill treatment of the natives of the Andes by the Spanish after their conquest. His drawings constitute the most accurate graphic depiction of Inka and colonial Peruvian material available.
All drawings from The First New Chronicle and Good Government. Courtesy of The Royal Library, Copenhagen (GKS 2232 4º).
Quotes from a Spanish Chronicler
Quotes and Paraphrased Quotes from Spanish chroniclers, a Quechua bridge master, and an MIT engineering professor who researches Inka bridges with their impressions about the unique and innovative qualities of the road.
"I believe since the history of man, there has been no other account of such grandeur as is to be seen on this road, which passes over deep valleys and lofty mountains, by snowy heights, over falls of water, through the living rock and along the edges of tortuous torrents."
- Spanish Chronicler Pedro Cieza de León, 1548
I think there has never been a road as awesome as this, which passes over deep valleys and high mountains, by snowy peaks, over waterfalls, through mountain tunnels, and along the edges of rivers with great currents.
Read additional quotes and paraphrased quotes from Spanish historians, contemporary engineers, and cultural experts to get insights about the innovative engineering qualities of the Inka Road and the Q'eswachaka bridge.