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Visitors have to pay $80 for Peru’s Inti Raymi Festival of the Sun

This year’s ticket price for visitors of the Peruvian Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) celebrations will be US$ 80,00 for watching the main activities on June 24h, 2007. This was confirmed today by Carlos Gutiérrez, president of the company Municipal de Festejos de Cusco (Emufec), which is organizing this year’s festivities.

Gutiérrez stated that this price has been charged for the last three years, although he acknowledged that last year two tariffs existed – $80 for the seated area and $70 for other stands. He accused unscrupulous tourism operators of deceiving their clients by charging $80 dollars for non-seating areas as well.

Senor Gutiérrez seems to be a smart businessman and a terrific calculator: “All we have done is unifying both prices. This year we will charge $80 just like some agencies have already charged tourists last year”, he told Radio RPP Noticias.

He also denied that the price increase is solely based on making more profit. “Ticket revenue sometimes doesn’t even cover our costs”, he emphasized. 3,500 tickets are offered which means that a sellout would fill cash registers with 280,000 dollars. However, Gutierrez estimated that this years overall expenses would reach about 240,000 nuevo soles, which is actually less than a third of the ticket revenue. Who knows, maybe it was just a slip of the tongue and he meant to say dollars.

He also detailed that the city of Cusco is sponsoring the event. “We do not receive any money from the municipality nor from the State. That’s why we make strategic alliances with other companies and institutions like Promperú”, he declared.

Three different grandstands – orange, blue and green – will be constructed for the the celebrations with an overall capacity of 4,435 people. Advanced payment for the reservations in the seated area will be a minimum of 30 percent during March, 40 and 50 percent in April and May. In June, the month of the Inti Raymi, tickets have to be paid in full.

The Inti Raymi (”Festival of the Sun”) was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti. It also marked the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. Since 1944, a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Sacsayhuamán (two km. from Cusco) on June 24 of each year, attracting thousands of tourists and local visitors.

During the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi was the most important of four ceremonies celebrated in Cusco, as related by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. The ceremony was also said to indicate the mythical origin of the Incas, lasting nine days of colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to ensure a good cropping season. The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor’s presence was carried out in 1535, after which the Spanish conquest and the Catholic Church suppressed it. Some natives participated in similar ceremonies in the years after, but it was completely prohibited in 1572 by the Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, who claimed it was a pagan ceremony opposed to the Catholic faith.

Today, it’s the second largest festival in South America. Hundreds of thousands of people converge on Cuzco from other parts of the nation, South America and the world for a week long celebration marking the beginning of a new year, the Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun.

Article by Wolfy Becker