Every year on June 24th, the largest and most important festival of the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun, is celebrated in Cusco, Peru.

This year, as usual, the Peruvian people celebrated the Inti Raymi on June 24th in Cusco, Peru, the capital of the Inca Empire.

Celebrating Inti Raymi, the Incan Festival of the Sun

The thousand-year-old ritual, also known as the Festival of the Sun, ushers in the winter solstice — the shortest day of the year — and asks the Sun God, Inti, to return for a bit longer.

Every year, thousands of visitors come to Peru to attend this festive celebration.

The Qorikancha

The first part of the celebration is called the “Qorikancha”. Inca army generals, warriors, hundreds of dancers, musicians, and women bearing flowers, dance to begin the ceremony.

The ceremony ends with The Inca and his wife, the coya, and the high priest speaking to the crowd. 

The second phase takes place in the Cusco main square.
The second phase takes place in the Cusco main square.

The second phase takes place in the Cusco main square. This part of the ceremony showcases performances that symbolize Inca culture. 

The mayor of the city receives the quipu which represents the three powers: munay, yachay and llankay (which means to want, to know and to work).

Sacsayhuamán

The final celebration is called the Sacsayhuamán. It is the most important and spectacular part of the Inti Raymi, and it takes place in a vast outdoor temple and theater overlooking Cusco.

Here,  the Inca and the high priest ascend to the main altar to sacrifice a llama (don’t worry, they don’t use a real one) and make offerings. 

The Inti Raymi celebration is just one of the many incredible experiences that travelers can see in Peru.

Day Trip to Machu Picchu

Visitors to Cusco can also take a day trip to the legendary Machu Picchu, which is just up the valley in the mountains from Cusco.

A llama stands overlooking Machu Picchu in Peru. Photo by Benjamin Rader
A llama stands overlooking Machu Picchu in Peru. Photo by Benjamin Rader

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley.

Nestled atop the majestic Andes Mountains in Peru, overlooking the valley of the Urubamba River, it is the most visited attraction in Peru.

Machu Picchu was built during the 15th century and then deserted. The ancient citadel is famous for its remarkable dry-stone walls which were expertly crafted by seamlessly interlocking massive blocks without the need for mortar. Its captivating architecture includes structures designed with intriguing astronomical alignments, all set amidst breathtaking panoramic vistas.

This incredible symbol of the Incan Empire was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

For more information visit peru.info

Watch More: Rhythms of Peru

Read More: What You Need to Know about Traveling to Machu Picchu

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