Qhapaq Ñan, Andina Sistema Vial

qhapaq ñanEste sitio es una extensa red de comunicaciones Inca, comercio y defensa de las carreteras que cubren 30.000 kilometros. Construido por los incas durante varios siglos, y basado en parte en la infraestructura pre-inca, esta red extraordinaria a través de uno de los terrenos geográficas más extremas del mundo vinculado a los picos nevados de los Andes - a una altitud de más de 6.000 m - a la costa , corriendo a través de las selvas tropicales calientes, fértiles valles y desiertos absolutos. Alcanzó su máxima expansión en el siglo 15, cuando se extendió a lo largo y ancho de los Andes. El Qhapaq Ñan, Sistema Vial Andino incluye 273 sitios de componentes que se distribuyen en más de 6000 kilometros que fueron seleccionados para destacar los logros sociales, políticos, arquitectura e ingeniería de la red, junto con su infraestructura asociada para el comercio, alojamiento y almacenamiento, así como lugares de importancia religiosa.

Declaratoria del Qhapaq Ñan o Sistema Vial Andino como Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad

Durante el 38 periodo de sesiones del Comité del Patrimonio Mundial, realizado en Doha, Qatar, entre el 15 y el 25 de junio del 2014, a través de la Decisión 38COM 8B.43. se declaró al Qhapaq Ñan o Sistema Vial Andino como patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad. El valor universal excepcional del Qhapaq Ñan fue sustentado en los criterios ii), iii) y VI) de la Convención del Patrimonio Mundial.

Síntesis histórica del bien

Since the 3rd millennium BC urban societies based on agriculture had been established in the central Andes as result of the development of irrigation systems which allowed for use of the often scarce water resources. Exploitation of mineral resources soon allowed for the production of metal tools and knowledge about organic fibres found in the natural resources for the production of textiles. Significant changes occurred in the region from the 6th century onwards when a civilization started to emerge around a spiritual centre and a distinctive hierarchical power structure, with primary and secondary chiefs alongside the common population. A severe prolonged agricultural crisis occurred in the 6th century due to climate change phenomena and disrupted regional and local rule and settlement patterns by mobilizing people to seek better living conditions, causing wars among different groups and territories. The Wari turned out most successful in these events and established their capital in Ayacucho as well as gaining access to sufficient agricultural resources. This allowed for the establishment of a first reign, which covered a larger region.

Another large empire pre-existing the Inca expansion is the one of Tiwanaku, which covered the present day territories of Bolivia, southern Peru and Chile and grew from 300 CE onwards towards its height in the 11th century. The Tiwanaku empire can however not be seen as a uniform governance system. It was rather a structure of hierarchies which involved local systems and identities which become part of the larger political system. In contrast to the later Inca Empire the Tiwanaku was based on its ability to encompass multiple political systems. Also in the northern Andes and western coastal regions numerous and diverse Andean societies preceded the Inca expansion and the integration of their infrastructure allowed for the fast expansion of both the Qhapaq Ñan and the Inca State.

The Incas started as no more than a tribal group based around the River Watanay, one of several hundred tribal groups who continued to regularly engage in warfare over territory. They directed their first conquests against Calca, situated north of Cusco and the Yucay Valley. Following this the Inca managed to obtain control of Cusco, a well established regional centre under Wari rule. They continued to expand eastwards along the high mountain plateaus towards the Titicaca Lake. The people of Charcas, Soras, Carangas, Caracaras, Lipes and Chicas who lived in the eastern valleys and the Bolivian high plateau and were fully incorporated by the Incas at this early stage.

The exact events that led to the formation of the Inca State remain disputed among archaeologists and historians. Likely scenarios highlight that the attack on Cusco by the Chancas, a political unit that had its centre in Andahuaylas at the end of the Wiraqocha government allowed the Incas to rise and soon take over its rule. The first key expansion was then started by Pachakuti, who occupied the territories of the Chancas, Soras, Lucanas and other neighbouring nations. From the middle of the 15th century onwards, the Inca territorial possessions were larger than those of any earlier political unit on the continent as well as any other political unit of their time.

The following ruler Thopa Inca incorporated the powerful Chimor dominions on the north Peruvian coast. The northern border at this time reached closed to Quito in Ecuador, the southern to the Maule River in Chile. At the time of the eleventh Inca, Wayna Qhapaq, the territory was further expanded into northern Ecuador and south of Colombia. Through these expansions the Tawantinsuyu, soon incorporated the so-called four corners of the world in its influence and pacified lands across a large continent paving the way for coexistence of different people and cultural traditions. This vast expansion happened in little more than one century, which lasted most likely from 1430 to 1532. During this century, the Inca succeeded in uniting the different political entities, multiplied their agricultural and mining resources and integrated the economic and social achievements in a territory expanding more than 5,000 kilometres from north to south. Cusco was the centre of the political, administrative, social and military power of the Incas. The Inca rule was supported by a State Council of representatives of the people that had been subdued, at least one chief for each suyu.

The Incas pragmatically established diverse approaches to managing the wide territories which were controlled by use of arms, diplomacy and establishment of critical alliances. After occupying a territory the administration would conduct a census of people, land and products to judge the potential benefits of the region and calculate the tax incomes. Military defence service was based on the principle of mita, a concept of rotation according to which different groups would be responsible for defence at different times. The Inca economy was based on a system of vertical control, according to which the various ecological systems at different altitudes were managed in similar patterns.

In political and administrative terms, the Inca created a monarchy like ruling class, where the key power lay in the figure of the king-like Inca as the self-proclaimed son of the sun. The Inca class, bound by wider blood ties to the ruler fulfilled all key administrative and governance positions. A third hierarchical level in society was formed by the so-called kurakas, lords of the dominated regions who represented the local people and were associated to the Inca regime. They retained control in the regions and created a more indirect form of Inca governance.

Although the Qhapaq Ñan is often referred to as a key element of the political, administrative, communication and defence structure of the Inca State, much of it already existed before the Inca occupied the respective territories.

Two main roads ran along the Tawantinsuyu, the first along the lower coastal areas and the other on the highlands and mountain plateaus. Both were connected by several transversal roads integrating major centres into the network. While the Inca strengthened, maintained and expanded these roads, the new constructions were often networks of secondary roads which linked all the different Tawantinsuyu populations. At specific intervals along the road and depending on the geography, the Inca constructed structures for the storing of food and other articles and for the refuge of traders and travellers. The largest and best supplied tambos were located in the great centres along the road.

The road network of the Qhapaq Ñan also facilitated the exploration of the continent by the first Spanish Conquerors who arrived from the north in 1526. The Spanish horsemen had military superiority over the Inca in terms of equipment and weapon technology. First battles between the Spanish – supported by several local groups annexed in Central America – and the Inca occurred on the territory of present Ecuador. The Spanish controlled most of the Inca territories by 1533 after they had deposed the ruler and made one of his brothers who was cooperative their assigned head of state. Three years later following some local feuds, the Spanish authorities took full control and the Inca retreated into the remote mountain territories where they ruled for another 36 years.

The end of the Inca Empire did by no means imply a reduction or destruction of the Qhapaq Ñan. It remained the key transportation, communication and trade network of the continent for the following centuries. Today, the remains of the Qhapaq Ñan road network are still used as key transportation roads across five countries, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Peru and reach into the south of Colombia. Parts of it have been adapted to modern means of transport and have been asphalted or even converted to motorway. Larger sections remain in their original materials of the Incan era and are used by pedestrians and with riding animals, in particular horses, donkeys and mules. The Qhapaq Ñan is perceived as a practical and living heritage and is maintained and managed in traditional methods by the communities which live along its route. Today, the Qhapaq Ñan remains not only as a tangible road. It continues to exist in the collective memory and is the network that links the myths and tales of the past together. It is a strong connective element of the cultural traditions and intangible heritage practices in the far- stretched regions of the former Inca Empire.

Valor universal excepcional(VUE)

Criterio ii: Convención del Patrimonio Mundial (1972)
The Qhapaq Ñan exhibits important processes of interchange of goods, communication and cultural traditions within a cultural area of the world which created a vast empire of up to 4,200km in extension at its height in the 15th century. It is based on the integration of prior Andean ancestral knowledge and the specifics of Andean communities and cultures forming a state organizational system that enabled the exchange of social, political and economic values for imperial policy. Several roadside structures provide lasting evidence of valuable resources and goods traded along the network, such as precious metals, muyu (spondylus shell), foodstuffs, military supplies, feathers, wood, coca and textiles transported from the areas where they were collected, produced or manufactured, to Inca centres of various types and to the capital itself. Several communities, who remain custodians of components of this vast Inca communication network, are living reminders of the exchange of cultural values and language.

Criterio iii: Convención del Patrimonio Mundial (1972)
The Qhapaq Ñan is an exceptional and unique testimony to the Inca civilization based on the values and principles of reciprocity, redistribution and duality constructed in a singular system of organization called Tawantinsuyu. The road network was the life giving support to the Inca Empire integrated into the Andean landscape. As a testimony to the Inca Empire, it illustrates thousands of years of cultural evolution and was an omnipresent symbol of the Empire's strength and extension throughout the Andes. This testimony influences the communities along the Qhapaq Ñan until today, in particular with relation to the social fabric of local communities and the cultural philosophies that give meaning to relationships among people and between people and the land. Most importantly, life is still defined by links among close kin and an ethic of mutual support.

Criterion iv: Convención del Patrimonio Mundial (1972)
The Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System is an outstanding example of a type of technological ensemble which despite the most difficult geographical conditions created a continuous and functioning communication and trade system with exceptional technological and engineering skills in rural and remote settings. Several elements illustrate characteristic typologies in terms of walls, roads, steps, roadside ditches, sewage pipes, drains, etc., with construction methods unique to the Qhapaq Ñan while varying according to location and regional context. Many of these elements were standardized by the Inca State, which allowed for the control of equal conditions along the road network.

The series of sites inscribed as the best representation of the Qhapaq Ñan is exhaustive enough and illustrates the variety of typological, functional and communicative elements, which allow for a full understanding of its historic and contemporary role. The number of segments is adequate to communicate the key features of the heritage route, despite the fact that these are fragmented in individual site components, which represent the best preserved segments of the previously continuous road network.

For a number of site components the condition of integrity remains vulnerable and it is recommended that the States Parties develop criteria to define minimum intactness in relation to the different technological and architectural categories identified and the different geographical regions and levels of remoteness. According to these criteria, the condition of integrity should be monitored in the future to ensure that intactness can be guaranteed in the long term and that the site components remain free from threats which may reduce the condition of integrity.

To ensure that the distinct relations between different sites in terms of continuity despite their fragmentation can be well understood by future visitors, it is recommended that appropriate maps or a GIS system be developed which illustrates the functional and social relations between the different site components and highlights their role in the overall Qhapaq Ñan network.

The authenticity of the Qhapaq Ñan component sites is very high in that the characteristic features retain their form and design and the variety of specific well-preserved types of architectural and engineering achievements facilitate communication of the overall form and design of the network. The materials used are mainly stone and earth, with stone type varying from region to region, and repair and maintenance measures where necessary are undertaken in traditional techniques and material. These are predominantly driven by the local populations, who remain knowledgeable in traditional road management techniques and who are the key partners in maintaining the roadbed and associated features.

At sites which have been of specific archaeological or cultural interest professional stabilization and restoration techniques have been applied and implemented with great respect to the original materials and substance. On the road sections, local management systems govern decision-making processes, often with a large degree of community involvement and these have retained highest degrees of authenticity as reuse of the historic materials remains more efficient than the introduction of new materials.

The setting and visual surroundings of most of Qhapaq Ñan's components is very good and in many cases pristine. For several summit ceremonial sites, settings include horizon ranges of 360 degrees for many kilometres in all directions. The Qhapaq Ñan also passes through very beautiful landscapes, the beauty of which depends on fragile view sheds associated which need to be monitored to ensure that any modern developments in the landscape have as minimal visual impact as possible.

Several sites are difficult to access and their remoteness has over centuries preserved them in a very good condition. A majority of Qhapaq Ñan components is located in rural settings which fortunately left them free of noticeable modern intrusions. Associated intangible values and management practices remain very strong, especially in the most remote sections of the road network and contribute to the safeguarding of authentic management mechanisms. The information sources of spirit and feeling as well as atmosphere are very relevant as many of the communities have strong associations to the Qhapaq Ñan and continue to remain guardians of some of the ceremonial structures.


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