Inca Trail: History
The Inca Trail, or Qhapaq Nan, is an extensive network of trails that connected the four districts, called suyos, of the Incan empire, Tahuantinsuyo. Built during the short period between 1438 and 1533 when Tahuantinsuyo was the dominant empire in pre-Columbian America, the trails were built at high altitudes to accommodate the local pack animal, the llama. The phrase “Inca Trail” often refers to the most world-renowned section of the Qhapaq Ñan that leads to Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu itself was far off the beaten path and served as a royal estate populated by the ruling Inca and several hundred servants. It required regular infusions of goods and services from Cusco and other parts of the empire. This is evidenced by the fact that there are no large government storage facilities at the site. A 1997 study concluded that the site’s agricultural potential would not have been sufficient to support residents, even on a seasonal basisRelay messengers, or chasqui stationed at intervals of 6 to 9 kilometres (3.7 to 5.6 mi), carried both messages and objects such as fresh marine fish for the rulers in the sierra. Messages consisted of knotted-cord records known as quipu along with a spoken message. Chasquis could cover an estimated 250 kilometres (160 mi) per day. trails were used almost exclusively by people walking, sometimes accompanied by pack animals, usually the llama.
During the whole year, thousands of travelers from the whole planet set off the path of the Inca Trail from the Cusco to have an access to the Peruvian highlands, and to the millenary mysteries that the stones of Machu Picchu still encloses.
Along the trail it can be found different fortifications in a relatively good state,, which domain visually all the valleys.
The trekking starts in the village of Cori-huayra-china (quechua: Quri Wayrachina, winding`s gold ), Cusco-Quillabamba railway, and it tooks three or four days of walking getting at Machu Piccu. On the treail, which goes through impressing cliffs with weathers and ecosystems so varied like the Andean highplateau and the cloud forest. It must be exceled two big passages (the highest of them, the Huarmi Huañusca, of 4.200 M.A.S.L.), also known as the Dead Woman Pass), and ends in the enrering to Machu Picchu through the Inti Puncu or the Sun`s Door”.
On the road you`ll find a network of settlements built in graved granite all along the way as for instance, the Huiñay Huayna and the Puyupatamarca, immersed in a natural scenary.
As an ideal complement you`ll find an exuberant nature, with peculiar landscapes, hundreds of orchid species and colorful birds.
Various means were used to bridge water courses. Rafts were used to cross wide meandering rivers. Bridges built of stone or floating reeds were used in marshy highlands. Inca rope bridges provided access across narrow valleys. A bridge across the Apurimac River, west of Cusco, spanned a distance of 45 meters. Ravines were sometimes crossed by hanging baskets, or oroya, which could span distances of over 50 meters. Bridges were sometimes built in pairs.
There were at least 1,000 and perhaps 2,000 way stations or tambos, placed at even intervals along the trails. These structures were intended to lodge and provision itinerant state personnel. Another structure found along Inca Trail at precise interval is called qolqa or qollqa. These structures were closer together and held clothing, weapons, and various types of food.
Spanish chroniclers frequently described lengthy journeys made by the Inca ruler, carried on a litter, and surrounded by thousands of soldiers and retainers, to various parts of his empire.
Various means were used to bridge water courses. Rafts were used to cross wide meandering rivers. Bridges built of stone or floating reeds were used in marshy highlands. Inca rope bridges provided access across narrow valleys. A bridge across the Apurimac River, west of Cusco, spanned a distance of 45 meters. Ravines were sometimes crossed by hanging baskets.