Rest Stops on the Inca Highway System

The people of Tahuantinsuyo built an impressive system of roads many of which remained in use centuries after the empire that built them was gone. One significant feature of this road system was facilities such as baths to accommodate travelers.

Tambomachay, the site shown in the picture above may have been one such facility. What you see in the picture lies about 1000 feet (300 meters) from the main modern road but was directly on the ancient Inca road. The main feature of the site is a beautifully constructed stone bath fed by water from a nearby spring. The water still flows today.

The high quality of the stonework and the close proximity to Cuzco suggest that the site was not intended as a bath for casual travellers. It more likely served as a facility for the the ruling elite and is commonly called “El Baño del Inca” (The Bath of the Inca).

“Inca” was a term used to refer to the ruler of Tahuantinsuyo, not to the people as a whole.

The map to the right shows documented Inca-era roads and the cities they connected.