Native Traditions Remain Vibrant
Quechua people throughout the Andes proudly cherish their Inka heritage. Throughout the year festivals and celebrations that blend Inka and Catholic traditions fill towns, villages, and valleys with sound, movement, and color.
Honoring Inti, the sun, this Inka festival survives in many parts of the Andes, especially in Cusco. It occurs at the winter solstice (June in the Southern Hemisphere) and involves rituals, processions, colorful costumes, dancing, and feasting.
Villages of indigenous people are scattered throughout the Andes. In this rugged landscape, the age-old concept of ayni (reciprocity) is very much alive. Communities work together for the common good.
Q’eswachaka Suspension Bridge
The Q’eswachaka suspension bridge has stretched across Peru’s Apurímac River for more than 500 years. Using traditional methods and plant materials, local people periodically rebuild the 28-meter (92-foot) span. It is the last surviving suspension bridge constructed with Inka techniques.
Reconstruction takes place in early June, involving villages on both sides of the river. At each end, a community leader acts as "bridge master." This specialized, highly respected job as qollana is usually passed from father to son.