19 Aug 2015

For Centuries, Two Villages Have Worked Together to Rebuild this Bridge Every Single Year (22 Pics)

As far as team-building exercises go, this one's pretty special - a thousand villagers join forces in a 500-year-old annual tradition to make a precarious rope bridge which will serve as a vital link for their isolated community high in the Peruvian mountains.
The 100ft long Queswachaca Bridge over the river Apurimac, in the Cuzco region of Peru, is constructed from traditional hand-made rope so it must be rebuilt every year.
One thousand villagers come together over the course of three-days to take down the old bridge and fabricate a new one. Working up to 12-hours a day the process begins with the weaving of thin strands of rope from blades of grass.
These thinner strands are then braided together to create heavy-duty rope which is carried across the river by a team of men before being hoisted up into position. 
Queswachaca Bridge is the only bridge still being conserved in the Inca tradition and after a grueling three-days of work, the villagers celebrate by throwing a huge traditional Inca celebration on the fourth day. 

Long way down: Two Peruvian villagers edge across the old rope bridge spanning the river Apurimac, in the Cuzco region of Peru, before it is rebuilt in a 500-year-old tradition

Task at hand: The bridge, which spans the river Apurimac, in the stunning Cuzco region of Peru, is a vital link for the local community

Initial stages: Locals begin the process by working up to 12 hours a day weaving smaller ropes which will then be braided together to form the huge ropes needed to make the bridge

Technique: A villager shows off her skills binding the thin blades of grass together to create the smaller braids of rope

Little helper: A young villager lends a hand bunching together blades of dried grass for the smaller ropes. Around a thousand villagers come together over three days to take down the old Queswachaca Bridge and make a new one

A day at the office: A female villager in the initial stages of rope making for the bridge, left, and a man spreads his arms to measure out a length of the smaller rope, right


Bonding: Local women enjoy a well-earned break after working under the hot sun to form the initial lengths of thin rope which will be used to make the bridge over the river Apurimac, in the Cuzco region of Peru

Stage two: Men carry bundles of the smaller rope up the valley where it will be woven together to form the heavy-duty cable needed to construct the bridge

Villagers sort through the hundreds of lengths of smaller rope before beginning the long and arduous task of rebuilding the centuries-old bridge

Doing the twist: It takes hours of work to transform the small braids into lengths of thicker rope which are then plaited together to create the main parts of the bridge

Heave: In what looks like a game of tug-of-war groups of villagers pull the rope from both ends to tighten it up ready for use

Working up a sweat: Building the bridge requires a huge a mount of effort from all members of the community so workers take regular breaks to keep their spirits up

Cable: With the heavy-duty rope finally assembled, a team of villagers prepares the arduous task of carrying it up to the bridge site

Cable: With the heavy-duty rope finally assembled, a team of villagers prepares the arduous task of carrying it up to the bridge site

Up we go: A train of villagers carry bundles of rope up to the site of the bridge which will span the river Apurimac in the Cuzco region of Peru

Over we go: With one end of the rope in place, villagers carry it down across the bottom the valley so it can span the river

Nearly there: A view of the partially-rebuilt bridge shows the main lengths of rope now in position across the river

Expertise: After setting the main lengths of rope in place, a small team of villagers edge across connecting them together using smaller ropes to create the competed footbridge

Party time: After three long days of hard work the villagers gather together to celebrate the rebuilding of the bridge by throwing a huge Inca-style celebration

Villagers join hands for a dance and a sing-song at the post bridge-building party. The bridge is believed to be only bridge still conserved in this traditional Inca fashion


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