Results for - The last Incan bridge
(Slate.com) The Incas never invented the wheel, never figured out the arch, and never discovered iron. But they were masters of fiber. They built ships out of fiber (you can still find reed boats sailing on Lake Titicaca). They made armor out of fiber (pound for pound, it was stronger than the armor worn by the Conquistadors). Their greatest weapon, the sling, was woven from fibers, and was powerful enough to split a steel sword. They even communicated in fiber, developing a language of knotted strings known as quipo, which has yet to be decoded. So when it came to solving a problem like how to get people and goods across the steep gorges of the Andes, it was only natural that they would think about the problem in terms of fiber. Three hundred years before Europe saw its first suspension bridge, the Incas were spanning longer distances and deeper gorges than anything that the best European engineers, working with stone, were capable of. Today, there is just one Incan grass bridge left, the Keshwa Chaca, a sagging 90-foot span that stretches between two sides of a steep gorge, near Huinchiri, Peru. According to locals, it has been there for at least 500 years. Each June, it is renewed in an elaborate three-day ceremony. Each household from the four surrounding towns, is responsible for bringing 90 feet of braided grass cord. Construction takes place under the supervision of the bridge keeper. The old bridge is then cut down and thrown into the river. Because it has to be willfully, ritually regenerated each year, the Keshwa Chaca’s ownership passes from generation to generation as a bridge not only across space, but also time.