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Images: Tracing the Ancient Incan Empire

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Re-imagining the Inca

Credit: Jesse Lewis
The city of Cusco seems to hum in anticipation. Villagers dressed in colorful shawls, or chompas, mingle with city-folk and tourists. Processions parade…Read More »





down the cobble stone streets. Horns blare over the serenade of pan pipes, and people gather to celebrate an ancient Inca tradition. This is the festival of the sun, or "Inti Raymi," held at the height of the winter solstice every year during late June in the Southern Hemisphere.

During the time of the Inca, Inti Raymi was one of the most important ceremonies of the year to pay respects to the supreme sun god. Nine days of processions and dancing, as well as animal sacrifices and ceremony, were meant to ensure good crops in the growing season ahead.

Outlawed in 1572 by the Catholic Church, it wasn't until the 1940s that the secrets of this festival were again reconstructed. Following the Spanish conquest much was lost to history, but like old ruins gone to seed, the Inca's secrets were just lying dormant waiting to be rediscovered. Today, archaeologists, historians and scientists are shedding new light on the Inca's mysterious world.    Less «
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