The Q'eswachaka from Cusco to D.C.
Wherever you stood on the Folklife Festival grounds, the Q’eswachaka Bridge was always noticeable, drawing diverse crowds and intrigue. Across the span of two weeks, participants and visitors saw the Huinchiri women and men prepare and braid the q’oya fibers, lead ceremonies, and build the suspension rope bridge by hand, piece by piece.
Witnessing the bridge construction on the National Mall was not only a spectacular engineering feat but also a great visual metaphor—linking the historical legacies of this Inka tradition to a contemporary context in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. The construction of the Q’eswachaka was a central part to this year’s Folklife Festival that facilitated the construction of cross-cultural connections between Peru and the United States.
One bridge builder who is also the town mayor, Beltran Eustaquio Huillca Janampa, shared his experience replicating the bridge in Washington, D.C.
Interview, editing, production: Marisol Medina-Cadena
Filmography: Albert Tong, Charlie Weber
Translation assistance: Laura Melissa Vega Meza
Marisol Medina-Cadena is video production intern and currently studies film and digital media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.