The Long Road Home

The Long Road Home
Year Photographed: 1993

Origin: Peru

Native Language: Quechua

The Incans believed that the flow of the Urabamba River was tied to the constellations and mountain peaks. They also believed that the river was the earthbound counterpart of the Milky Way.

This elderly woman has just finished her weekly trip to the market. In spite of a few modern roads, several railroads, and the airplane, much of the region has poorer means of communication than in the days of the Incas. The Incas found no natural barriers too great to surmount and they unified the whole empire. When the empire fell apart and the Spaniards closed in, the old Inca roads, not suitable for horses, fell into disuse. Villages were often left isolated. The people were left fragmented and today are often more inaccessible than in ancient times, living apart in the deep gorges and valleys.