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Inca trail History

Inca Trail Machu PicchuInca Trail history is very attractive and mysterious. In the ancient times the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was a royal highway for the Incas. Its importance in terms of how it fit into the scheme of things is evidenced by the ruins which are found along its stretch. The most important icon of the Incas is located at the end of what is now as the famous lost city of the Incas: Machu Picchu discovered for the modern society by Mr. Hiram Bingham at 1911.

The Incas built the trails named “Qapacñan” at XV century whit Inca Pachakutec as an emperor; this trails served to bring the communications as fast as possible by the Chaskis or Inca messengers since the main Inca wanted controlled every details through the empire. The Inca road system was one of the largest in the ancient times, being over 45,000 km (26,000miles) long; there were two main roads: 1.- the trail that runs through the highland and 2.- the road that ran through the coastal. Connecting roads between them linked major centers.

The highland road ran from northern Ecuador (Quito) all the way to Argentina; the coastal road started at the Ecuadorian border with Peru and ran at least as far as Arequipa. Another part of this road traversed the dry coastal desert of Chile. The Incas did not invented wheel, so all travel was on foot and road system was designed for an empire without wheeled vehicles, it was very different from modern roadways. The trails often ascended very rapidly, going directly up steep slopes, although zigzags were used on occasion to decrease the steepness. In some areas the trails was quite wide, as much as 15 meters; in other areas it was barely more than a footpath. Generally the road is wider where the land is flat and narrower where it ascends or descends slopes.

The principal use of the road system was to improve communication between different regions of the empire, but it also served as a visual symbol of the Incas power and authority over their subjects. The Trails was built and maintained by “Mita” labor. Some sections of it were built by early people named Pre-Incas, especially the Huari, who apparently were the first to construct an organized system of roads. However, the Incas greatly expanded these earlier roads and no doubt improved them in many regions.Inca Trail Machu Picchu

In particular the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu passes by crumbling temple ruins and tiny towns, where women still carry babies wrapped in shawls on their backs while leading a donkey down the road. While trekking, you’ll anake through lush sub-tropical jungles, and keep catching your breath as you climb over mountain passes. The sea of peaks surrounding you is breathtaking. During portions of the trek, hikers actually walk along paths the Incas trod when traveling from Cusco, the Inca’s imperial capital, to the sacred city of Machu Picchu.

The classic Inca trail, most often a 4 days trek, usually begins at Pisqhakucho or km 82, the short trail which starts farther along the Urubamba river valley, is an easier trek, which can be done in one day.  Both treks are partly on a trail in the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, a national park.

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Inca Trail Machu Picchu