LIMA, Peru (AP) — The United Nations has designated the road network used by the Inca empire as a World Heritage site.

The U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization granted the designation Saturday during a meeting in Doha, Qatar.

Peru's Culture Ministry says the network known as Qhapac Nan extends nearly 60,000 kilometers (37,000 miles). It spans the length and breadth of the Andes mountain range in six countries.

While parts of it pre-dated the Inca empire, the network reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century as the culture celebrated for architectonic prowess used it to exert dominance over the Andes.

Peru, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia combined to nominate the road network for U.N. recognition. The system travels mostly along the spine of the Andes, but also extends into the Amazon jungle and reaches to the Pacific coast.

UNESCO said the network includes 273 component sites, many of them with religious significance.

Much of the system is disrepair, covered by vegetation.