Inti Raymi is the most amazing Inca celebration, this ceremony takes place every year on June 24th in Sacsayhuaman fortress and coincides with the winter solstice and harvest time.

The Festival of the Sun

Inti Raymi is presided over by the Inca and his entourage. They represent the most lavish tribute and worship of the sun. After the event, a presentation of music and dance of the four sides of the Tawantinsuyo is offered.

In 1944, a historical reconstruction of the Inti Raymi was directed by Faustino Espinoza Navarro and indigenous actors.

The first reconstruction was based largely on the chronicles of Garcilaso de la Vega and referred only to the religious ceremony.

Since 1944, an annual theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Saksaywaman on June 24, two kilometers from the original site of celebration in central Cusco. It attracts thousands of tourists and local visitors.

Inti Raymi is still celebrated in indigenous cultures throughout the Andes.

Celebrations involve music, wearing of colorful costumes (most notable the woven aya huma mask), and the sharing of food. In many parts of the Andes though, this celebration has also been connected to the western Catholic festivals of Saint John the Baptist, which falls on the day after the northern solstice (June 21).

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Inti Raymi: The Sun Festival

This festival takes place on June 24th of each year in Cusco, Peru. Before the arrival of the Spaniards in Peru in 1532, the Inti Raymi was the most important holiday of the Inca Empire, during which the sovereign, son of the Sun, thanked his father for the past agricultural year and asked for clemency for the news to come.

This event took place during the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year thus marking the beginning of a new cycle. The festivities were banned in 1572.

They ceased to be celebrated in public, but it is thought that they continued to be secretly. It was in 1944 that the party was brought up to date in the form of a pageant.

The performance begins in front of the Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun) around 8:30 am: hundreds of dancers, playing the inhabitants of the four Suyu (parts) of the empire, present themselves to the public.

Then the Inca appears at the top of the temple. He leaves then with his wife the Qoya and goes to the Place d’Armes, where he arrives around 11am. From there, the actors go up to Saqsayhuamán where the last part of the show takes place, from 13h30 to 16h approximately.

Where to see The Inti Raymi

The representation in the city center of Cusco is free, and therefore very busy.

It is therefore advisable to visit the premises early. The access to Saqsayhuamán being totally blocked at the beginning of the afternoon, the easiest way is to go there on foot.

The entry to the stands is not free (between 90 and 130 USD depending on the location).