It must be noted the Inti Raymi had three scenes staged in three different places. The first ceremony was held at Qoricancha Temple, where the Inca escorted by his entourage sang to the Inti (Sun God). The second one took place at Cusco’s main square, where the Inca reenacted the famous, and the third in Sacsayhuaman.
Inti Raymi is a Quechua word meaning ‘Fiesta del Sol’. All the winter solstices (between June 20 and 23) the Inca performed a ritual in honor of the sun, the highest divinity in the Tahuantinsuyo. Formerly he was known as Wawa Inti Raymi. Pachacutec, who ordered the construction of Machu Picchu, began this religious-cultural tradition in the 15th century. According to the Andean cosmovision, at that time the sun was starting its cycle again. Since 1944, this tradition was reinstated in Cusco. Today, it is one of the most important celebrations in Peru. Its celebration includes dances, performances, typical costumes and a series of activities ideal for tourism.
The celebration of the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year in terms of the time between sunrise and sunset – and the Inca New Year, when the hours of light would begin to lengthen again. In territories south of the equator, the Gregorian months of June and July are winter months. It is held on June 24.
There are no official seats to observe the beginning of the festivities in the Qoricancha, but you can see them from the surrounding streets. The celebrations begin on the outskirts of the gardens of Qoricancha, located next to one of the main avenues in Cusco, Avenue El Sol. You must arrive very early (before 7 am), if you want to position yourself in the best observation points .
The historic center of Cuzco is the nerve center of the celebrations of the Fiesta del Sol. The Plaza de Armas is cordoned off. The Inca is loaded on litter by eight servants and performs the so-called Coca Ceremony. There is a platform for tourists who bought their ticket. However, most visitors have to observe the staging of the ritual standing up. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts about an hour.
The Chuquipampa esplanade in the Sacsayhuaman fortress is the main stage for the representation of the Inti Raymi. This place was very important during the Incas. Today, access to the public is only allowed with an entrance ticket. There are 3 platforms or grandstands conditioned to the tourist. The staging starts at 01:30 p.m. and it lasts almost two hours.
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