capac ñan - cañar 1/2
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The Capac Ñan, or the remains of the Inca Trail that passes trough the current Ecuador can be visited from Achupallas, Chimborazo province, until St. Lucas in Loja. A fraction of this route is still visible, is located in the province of Cañar.
PHOTO CREDIT: turismo cañar

With the Quechua name of Capac Nan is identified the road system built by the Incas in the Tahuantinsuyo. The Inca Trail covered approximately 30,000 kilometers in length. The trail is formed by two trunk roads and secondary roads that connected the territories of the North, South, East and West, with the core of the Inca Empire: Cusco.


The two main trunk of the Capac Ñan passed trough the coastal and Andean region respectively: the Andean road linking Talca, current Argentina, with Quito, Ecuador, and a part of the south extreme of Colombia also, a journey of more 6,000 kilometers. In the other hand the coastal route passed trough Tumbes, current Peru, to Santiago, in the Center of Chile.


This long road connected the Inca domains, and allowed them to control the empire and deploy troops, as needed, from the capital Cuzco. Along the route there were places of provisioning and rest for the Inca, his troops, the so-called tambos, rooms, poultry yard and pen for variety of Andean animals.


It is also remarkable that the Capac Ñan was built for the transit of people and animals, for the migration and control of migrant groups, as well as the use of the same Inca in his travels inside the Tahuntinsuyo. The Capac Ñan roads were also used as a kind of map and provided information on the ethnic groups of the Empire; the work force of populations; the resources of ecosystems, farms and the production of the land.


To sum up, the Qhapaq Ñan was the main North-South Road, which made possible the economic and political control of the Empire and the territories conquered by them. With over sixty thousand kilometers in length, this backbone of the Andes allowed the Inca to control his empire and maintain control from Cuzco.


The construction of the Capac Ñan overcame the difficulties of the Ecuadorian and South American Andean topography. There were created paths that started near streams and progressively came up to the rocky geography. The paths finally were connected with the characteristic land of Andean moor. On the other hand, the Inca Trail, on the coast, was built using appropriate techniques to the geographical environment, sometimes using adobe, and retaining walls at the edges.

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