Free admission (all visitors, all hours)


This exhibition of over 35 photographs features the 25,000 miles of roads and trails that the Incas built six centuries ago in South America. On view in the IMAX Corridor on the second floor, the exhibition explores the roads that crisscrossed the Incan realm, radiating out from Cuzco, the Inca capital tucked in the mountains of modern-day Peru.

The vast Inca Empire owed its reach and power to this extensive and intricate network of roads. Linking forts, religious sites, and administrative centers from the Pacific coast to the Amazonian rainforest, the Inca roads allowed armies and imperial officials to conquer and then control the largest empire in the Americas.

The photographs reveal the diversity of this road system—from broad paved highways to woven suspension bridges to beaten tracks through barren desert—and of the landscape through which it travels. Other highlights include round terraces of Moray; a tropical forest located along the Amazon tributary near the present-day border between Peru and Bolivia; Sondor, a terraced knoll that may have been used for religious rituals; the Huascarán peak in the Cordillera Blanca, the highest in Peru and one of the highest in the Andes; Laguna de Los Condores, where in 1996 a local worker discovered a cache of some 200 mummy bundles tucked in a cliff side high above a lake; Andeans gathering a potato crop; and maps of the road network.

Visitors interested in learning more about the subjects featured in Highway of An Empire can also visit the museum’s Hall of South American Peoples.