Getting to know the Great Inca Road

  • Arts
  • Saturday, 30 Mar 2024

Peru is a country with a rich cultural heritage, as well as beautiful and diverse nature. — Embassy of Peru

As many as 42 photographs depicting the Great Inca Road were recently put on display during an exhibition at 1Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

The free exhibition was arranged by the Embassy of Peru, and launched by the Ambassador of Peru to Malaysia, Ricardo Estanislao Morote Canales. Director of 1Utama, Tan Sri Datuk Teo Chiang Kok, was also at the launch.

“The distance between Malaysia and Peru is almost 20,000km, so I can’t expect locals to travel so far just to experience the country,’’ said Canales. “Through this exhibition, you can get an idea of the heritage that we Peruvians and even South Americans are very proud of.”

Canales selected many of the photographs in the exhibition himself, and gave brief descriptions to journalists and guests at the launch. He explained that he wanted to be sure that the rich history of the Inca Road was properly showcased.

Constructed between the 12th and 16th century in the South American region, the Inca Road system covers a total of 40,000km. “The Inca Road features well-built structures such as bridges, causeways, stairways, and drainage systems, which are still used by the communities in those areas today.

“The roads were strategically constructed to navigate various geographical terrains, including deserts in the coast, mountains, and plains in the Andes, as well as the rainforest. Today, cars would not be able to travel across some of these paths!” Canales said, half-jokingly.

Photography exhibition called 'The Great Inca Road'  (FEB 24 2024) — ART CHEN/The StarPhotography exhibition called 'The Great Inca Road' (FEB 24 2024) — ART CHEN/The Star

Some of the highlights of the exhibition include popular travel destinations like Machu Picchu, the bustling city of Cusco and the ruins of the fortress of Kuelap.

The ambassador himself has a keen eye for photography, especially if it features a theme he is particularly passionate about. Just by looking at the subjects or objects in the pictures – like a building or monument, for example – he would be able to tell you which era they were from, and give a brief description too.

“The sophisticated pathways and trails were built without the use of the wheel, draft animals, or even metal tools, yet modern engineers have noted that the road uses advanced engineering principles,” he shared.

“These roads were an advanced transportation network of people, animals, and goods, contributing to the ancient cultures integration process until its peak in the Inca Empire.”

The Great Inca Road System is considered a remarkable feat of ancient engineering and a cultural heritage, and has been listed as Unesco World Heritage since 2014.

The Inca Road passes through parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, and Ecuador, and is protected under the International Union For Conservation Of Nature. The longest continuous stretch is from Colombia to Chile, covering 5,641km, which is similar to the distance between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing in China.

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