Highway of the Sun

Highway of the Sun

Highway of the Sun

Highway of the Sun

Excerpt

It was 1548. At the side of a road which went on out across the bare Andes, a young soldier was keeping his vow to write down the "wonderful things of these Indies." Pedro Cieza de León looked again at the stone-paved highway he had followed for so many leagues and then he slowly wrote:

Accordingly the Inca constructed the grandest road that there is in the world as well as the longest, for it extends from Cuzco to Quito and was connected from Cuzco to Chile--a distance of 800 leagues. I believe since the history of man, there has been no other account of such grandeur as is to be seen on this road which passes over deep valleys and lofty mountains, by snowy heights, over falls of water, through the living rock and along the edges of tortuous torrents. In all these places, the road is well constructed, on the inclining mountains well terraced, through the living rock cut along the riverbanks supported by retaining walls, in the snowy heights built with steps and resting places, and along its entire length swept cleanly and cleared of debris--with post stations and storehouses and Temples of the Sun at appointed intervals along its length.

In the four hundred years since the young traveler wrote this, much of this grandeur has been laid waste by the insults of time; much is in ruins, many of the superbly made halting-places of the road reduced to formless mounds. Here and there, during the inter-

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