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Qhapaq Ñan

Qhapaq Ñan

Qhapaq Nan is the Andean road system created by the Inca civilization.

They used it for the purposes of communication, trade and defence. It reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century. The central square of Cusco, known as Hanan Hauk'aypata, is the origin of the four main roads that allowed the Incas to easily travel by foot to every corner of their territory.

This is a serial nomination of over 720km of stretches of road and 291 archaeological sites, stretching across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Map of Qhapaq Ñan


  • Cultural

Visit May 2011

With this huge Qhapaq Nan serial nomination, the Andean countries seem to have clustered all Inca-sites of any importance. I visited the area in 2011, and besides Cuzco/Tiwanaku/Quebrada de Humahuaca which are already WHS in their own right I visited some of the "lesser" sites too.

Pachacamac is an easy half-day trip out of Lima. I took one of the dozens of minibuses that leave all the time from Avenida Grau. It dropped me off right at the site's entrance. There's a little museum on site, displaying some pretty Wari ceramics and also textile that has survived the ages due to the extremely dry climate here.

Its location indeed is one of the most remarkable things about Pachacamac - it's out there in the desert, within sight from the sea. The site is totally covered in sand. Archeologists are only slowly making their way to the many temples and other features below. Most of it is off limits to visitors, though the Temple of the Sun can be climbed and other parts like the North-South Street have explanatory boards. You can do a full circuit walk of the large terrain in about an hour (if you have a car, you can also drive).

Pachacamac was a ceremonial and pilgrimage site between 200 and 1535. It was used by different civilizations: the Lima, the Wari, the Ichma and the Inca. Its most distinguishing fact is that it predominantly is a Wari site, a culture which is not represented on the List yet. But it's not the best place to see Wari remains - Pachacamac never was a central site for them, and the Inca added and altered a lot.

May 2011

Above the city of Cuzco, half an hour's walk from the main square, are the ruins of the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. This is the most remarkable archeological site in all of Cusco, but is not part of the Cusco WHS. Cusco is located at 3400 meters altitude, and the fort at 3700 meters. It's a long climb to get there. What's left are especially walls, in the typical Inca style. The 22 walls are laid out in a remarkable zigzag formation. This site seems now part of the buffer zone of the Qhapaq Nan WHS, and is mentioned several times in the dossier.

May 2011

Ollantaytambo, the village with the difficult name (they shorten it to Ojanta in everyday speech), is located in the Sacred Valley, between Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Unlike Machu Picchu, the Spaniards have been here. In a famous battle, the Incas led by Manco Inca defeated the invaders.

Against a hillside on the outskirts of the village lie the ruins of a religious complex, built by the Incas in the 15th century. I slowly walked up the stairs along the terraces, which are very steep and tightly constructed. What immediately stands out here are the giant blocks of stone, the monoliths. This is something you do not see Machu Picchu. I always associated them with Tiwanaku, Bolivia.

On top there are a lot of loose, semi-finished stones on the top. And the ruins of a temple. The complex seems to have been abandoned before it was completely finished. Or hit by an earthquake. This is a fascinating place, with beautiful views over the valley. On a mountain slope on the other side you can still see the remains of warehouses that the Incas used to store their agricultural products. My visit to Ollantaytambo rivalled that of Machu Pichu.

May 2011

Community Reviews

Michael Turtle Australia 05.03.16

Qhapaq Ñan by Michael Turtle

This is a strange site to visit - how do you determine whether you have 'seen' it, when it's made up of thousands of kilometres of track all across the continent?

I consider that I have ticked it off because I walked much of the tracks on my way to Machu Picchu in Peru. But you could so it so many other ways - or even spend years walking different routes and still never technically see it all.

I'm glad it has been added to the list, though. It's a really interesting part of national infrastructure and played a huge part in the ability of the Incans to grow their civilisation and conquer so much of South America.

Will UNESCO be tempted to look favourably upon a submission from the US to list the country's interstate highway system now? :)

Read more from Michael Turtle here.

Kyle Magnuson Los Angeles, California - United States of America 10.07.14

Qhapaq Ñan by Kyle Magnuson

I've visited three major elements of the Qhapac Nan WHS in Peru.

- Pachacamac

- Cuzco

- Raqchi

1) Pachacamac is a sacred site that was important to the Inca, but long preceded them. The landscape is striking, because the archeological site is within sight of the Pacific ocean, but is very much a desert. Much of the pyramid shaped structure is buried. Pachacamac is truly a monumental site, and must have been stunning even to the Inca.

2) Cuzco is considered the center of Qhapac Nan, indeed the roads all connect to this high-altitude Inca capital. Several streets near the plaza highlight the precision and boldness of Inca architecture. The blocks are enormous, and they look they were set decades ago, not centuries. Behind the cathedral parts of the Inca era palace foundations and walls are visible.

3) Lastly, Raqchi is an important stopping point along Qhapac Nan. The ruined site and surrounding landscape is exquisite. Wetlands surround part of the site, and the various structures highlight varied structures that are somewhat rare. During my visit, Raqchi was merely a stopping point on the road from Cuzco to Puno. I could not have been more pleased, this pit-stop was well worth my time. Indeed, a well-preserved portion of the Andean road approaches the ruins.

Read more from Kyle Magnuson here.

Assif Israel 28.12.09

In Argentina this nomination includes multiple locations throughout the Eastern border from Jujuy to Mendosa. I guess it should include the Quebrada de Humahuaca as well. In Salta Province there is a special Inca site atop the Llullaillaco mountain at the height of 6700 meters! Three mummies and an accompanying treasure were unearthed. They are now presented in the Museum of High Mountain Archaeology in Salta (MAAM) where I would recommend a visit.

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Site Info

Full name: Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System

Unesco ID: 1459

Inscribed: 2014

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 2   3   4   6  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2014 - Inscribed 
  • 2014 - Revision Includes former Ecuador TWHS Pambamarca (1998), Ingapirca (1998) and cultural part of Lacs du Cajas et Ruines de Paredones (2003)


The site has 137 locations. Show all

  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-ACHC-03/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-ANC-13/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-CAC-08/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-CYSA-17/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-LCLP-10/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-LLL-16/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-LLU-07/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-PA-09/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-PIN-20/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-PPG-05/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-QGE-01/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-RAN-18/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: AR-SRT-02/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: BO-DV-01/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: BO-DV-02/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: BO-DV-03/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-CN-12/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-CS-13/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-CS-14/C-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-CS-15/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-CS-16/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-CT-10/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-IN-05/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-IN-06/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-LN-07/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-LN-08/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-LN-09/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PF-33/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PF-34/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PN-17/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PN-18/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PR-19/C-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PR-20/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PR-21/C-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PR-22/C-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PR-23/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-PS-01/C-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-24/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-25/C-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-26/S-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-27/S-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-28/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-29/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-30/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-31/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-RP-32/CS-2010
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-SS-02/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-SS-03/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-SS-04/S-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CH-TN-11/CS-2009
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-01-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-01-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-02-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-03-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-04-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-05-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-06-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-07-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-08-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: CO-RP-09-C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-AI-11/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-BP-22/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-CQ-09/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-CR-14/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-CT-23/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-CV-25/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-EH-13/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-HH-19/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-JC-07/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-LC-06/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-LL-16/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-LQ-05/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-ME-04/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-MM-17/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-PC-08/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-PGPC-12/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-PP-18/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-PTA-02/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-PTB-03/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-QS-26/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-SASA-20/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-SL-28/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: EC-SS-21/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-ALP-60/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-02/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-03/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-04/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-06/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-08/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-09/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-10/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-11/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-12/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-13/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-14/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-CD-15/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-41/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-42/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-43/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-44/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-45/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-46/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-47/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-48/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-49/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-50/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-51/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-52/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-53/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-54/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-55/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-56/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-57/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-58/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-HH-59/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-OL-16/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-OL-17/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-OL-18/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-OL-19/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-OL-21/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-PH-01/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-PQ-27/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-VCH-22/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-VCH-23/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-VCH-24/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-VCH-26/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-30/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-31/S-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-32/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-33/CS-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-34/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-35/S-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-36/S-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-37/C-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-38/S-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-39/S-2011
  • Qhapaq Ñan: PE-XP-40/CS-2011

Look where they are, via this Map.