Tambo: an ancient Incan warehouse turned modern recycling center

Tambo: an ancient Incan warehouse turned modern recycling center

Wanna know why the Camino Real community in Cusco chose “Tambo” as the name for their new reuse and recycling center?

As Diego Alonzo Alcazar, a volunteer architect on the project and the founding director of OLA Architecture explains, a tambo (derived from the word “tanpu” in Quechua) in ancient Peru was an enclosure located next to an important road used as a shelter and storage center.

The Inca Trail had tambos every 20 or 30 kilometers (a day’s walk). Their main function was to house the “chasquis” (emissaries of the empire) and governors who traveled this unique network of roads from one end to another.

In addition to serving as a refuge, it is known that the tambos were centers for storing food, wool, firewood or other basic materials for food. This way the tambos could also provide food and other needed materials for the people in close-by villages during times of climatic hardship or natural disasters.

As agriculture was the main source of food for the Incas, the administration of the Inca Empire established these places as a warehouse where food could be stored in case of emergency, thus ensuring the well being of the population.

We’re raising funds to help the Camino Real community reconnect with their roots and build their own Tambo


En Español

En el Antiguo Perú, un tambo (del quechua tanpu) era un recinto situado al lado de un camino importante usado como albergue y como centro de acopio. El camino del inca tenía tambos distantes 20 o 30 km (una jornada de camino a pie) entre sí. Su principal función era albergar a los chasquis (emisarios del imperio que recorrían estos caminos) y a las enmiendas de gobernadores que recorrían estos caminos de punta a punta mediante una red única de caminos. No se tiene información si albergaba a hombres comunes y corrientes.

Además de servir de refugio, se sabe que los tambos eran centros de acopio de alimentos, lana, leña u otros materiales básicos para la alimentación. De este modo, en épocas de penurias climáticas o desastres naturales, los tambos alimentaban y proveían de algunos materiales para la población de las aldeas más cercanas a la redonda.
Como la agricultura era la principal fuente de alimentación de los Incas, la administración del Imperio incaico, estableció estos lugares como una bodega donde se podía guardar alimento en caso de emergencia, asegurando así el buen vivir de la población.
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Reshaping cities for the long-term health of human and natural systems.

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