The Andean Inca road system, Qhapaq Ñan, was declared a world heritage patrimony by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on June 22.
Qhapac Ñan in quichua means Great Road or Royal Road, and with 6000 km of extension it includes six South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. 108 km of this ancient road are recognized in Ecuador, which includes 49 archaeological sites linked to 31 communities.
This route which was designed and built during the Tawuantinsuyu Incan Empire, and connected all the empire, crosses Ecuador from Rumichaca, province of Carchi in the north, to Espindola, Loja province on the South. It’s divided in 22 sections or subsections and additionally there are crossroads that connect the Andes with the Amazon and the Ecuadorian coast.
For the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador the value of this recognition is exceptional and encompasses “the entire tradition, history and identity of the people and different communities”. Ecuador is developing a model of institutional management for the handling and development of projects that will empower the sections of Qhapaq Ñan in the country, and that way it will increase the national and international tourism.