Issue - January 2007

January 2007

Once again, a New Year is starting with plenty of hopes and ideas for 2007 making it even better than the last one.

We have a special commitment with organizations and people that look out for the welfare of other more...

January 2007


by Walter Sánchez C.

A way to Abra K'asa towards the Yungas

When one arrives to Colomi and asks the local people about the location of the Inca's road they immediately point out toward the "Abra k'asa" hill (which means "broken path" in Quechua.) What is the significance of this name? A person can only understand this if he/ she gets near the hill and finds the deep cut located in the middle of the hill summit, like a door that opens up toward the sky. There runs one of Bolivia's most beautiful pre- Hispanic roads that connects the highland of Colomi with the warm valleys of Inkachaca.

This beautiful road, paved in almost all its extension along with contention walls, perrons (out-of-door flights of steps, as in a garden, leading to terraces or upper storeys) and simple and double drainages, ascends from Colomi (3,300m above sea-level) towards K'asa (3976m above sea-level). This is a place from where we can observe two opposing landscapes: on one side, toward the West, is the highland of Colomi, with it´s limpid blue sky and, on the other side, toward the Northeast, are the green oriental flanks of the yungas with their large vapours of white steam ascending quickly in order to humidify the landscape.

The 'Inca Road' from Colomi highland to the Yungas of Incachaca

Here begins the quick descent toward the humid valleys of Inkacorral, Inkachaca and Paracti (below 2,000m in altitude), from where a person can see immense condors, with their white necks, soaring across the sky.

During the Inca's period, the highland of Colomi (3,300m above sea-level) was a part of the shepherd land distributed by the Inca Wayna Capac to the "Sipe Sipe llamacamayoc" (these were the people of the Inka State, specialists in the upbringing of the llamas). Although at the present time the llamas no longer exist here, in Colomi, and have been replaced by trucks and cars, in the past this strategic area pastured hundreds of llamas that were used for ritual ends as much as for transport (it is calculated that in the highlands of the Cochabamba Cordillera in Altamachi, more than 90,000 llamas still exist). It is possible that during the Inkario, big "llama troops" penetrated the hot valleys of Tablas Monte, Corani, Paracti and Inkachaca, carrying potatoes, chuño and meat and bringing back pepper, feathers, chonta, locoto, honey, as well as medicinal and aromatic plants. If we follow early chronics, Amo or Umu mitmaqkuna (the mitmaqunas are people that the Incas brought to Cochabamba from other regions)lived near the places of Inkachaca, Paracti and, possibly in the current Rasupampa. Through recent archaeological discoveries of Tiwanaku ceramics and other materials found in the low lands, we now also know that these areas were already populated during the Half Horizon period. It is then possible to think that the roads were formally built during that period.

General panorama. In the circle we can see Abra K'asa

Studied inside the "Tablas Monte" archaeological project" (UMSS-ASDI/ SAREC), the setting, with regards to the value of this Inca's road, it's restoration and it's handling can support the tourist development not only of this area but of the whole Colomi municipality.

Based upon the consolidation of a general conscience of respect toward the archaeological patrimony, we expect that this and other roads can continue being a lesson of History for the future and a possibility of economic development with identity for local people and for the region.

My life in Taricaya
Despite having been in Cochabamba for over two weeks now I still find myself completely unaccustomed to the wonderfully peaceful nights sleep (without rude interruption by rat, opossum or cockroach), delicious food and presence of street lights and cars as opposed to fire flies and peccaries!?
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