The innovative technological know-how that run the Inca

Ultimately, the andenes, stockpiles and quipus helped the Inca to steadily increase an empire that inevitably dominated a terrific swath of South The us, encompassed 12 million individuals and created majestic citadels these as Machu Picchu.

But the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century triggered the overthrow of the Inca and the decrease of the andenes. Colonial violence, epidemics of European health conditions and forced displacement devastated the indigenous populations of the central Andes. European crops and agriculture practices were being introduced and speedily spread all through the area.

Still whilst numerous andenes have been deserted or fell into disrepair, they by no means disappeared fully. Drawing on understanding passed down more than the generations, several Andean farmers continue to use them right now, and nevertheless often missed by travellers, they stay a typical sight in locations such as Isla del Sol and the wider Titicaca area, the Sacred Valley near Machu Picchu, and the Colca Canyon in southern Peru, a fissure 2 times the depth of the Grand Canyon.

In the latest decades, there has also been renewed educational fascination in andenes as a type of sustainable agriculture that could help the entire world cope with the local climate disaster, water shortage and soil erosion. The Meals and Agriculture Organization of the UN, for case in point, describes classic Andean society as “one particular of the greatest examples of the adaptation and information of farmers to their surroundings”, and highlights its sustainable solution to land utilization, drinking water management, soil defense and crop biodiversity.

4 and a 50 % thousand years just after they first emerged, the terraced fields of the Andes look to be ahead of their time.

Ancient Engineering Marvels is a BBC Journey collection that takes inspiration from one of a kind architectural suggestions or ingenious constructions created by previous civilisations and cultures across the world.

Be part of far more than a few million BBC Travel fans by liking us on Fb, or stick to us on Twitter and Instagram.

If you appreciated this story, indicator up for the weekly characteristics newsletter called “The Essential Checklist”. A handpicked choice of stories from BBC Foreseeable future, Lifestyle, Worklife and Journey, shipped to your inbox each Friday.