Moai are monolithic human figures carved from stone on Easter Island or Rapa Nui , Chile.. Easter Island is the most remote inhabited island in the world, is located in the Pacific Ocean, at a distance of almost 4,000 km from South America. This is Easter island ( Isla de Pascua, Rapa Nui) – an amazing place, the birthplace of moai.
The island is famous for its extinct civilization, leaving behind mysterious statues -stone idols – moai . In 1995, Rapanui National Park (Easter Island) became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The overwhelming majority of “statues” were cut out of the rock of the Rano Raraku volcano. The largest (unfinished) statue measured about 20 meters and weighed 270 tons. Moai – “statues” were delivered to the coast in a completely incomprehensible way, where they were installed with their backs to the ocean, facing inland. A total of 997 moai are recorded on the island.
The exact age of the statues is still unknown today due to the lack of written records. There are indications that stonemasonry developed as early as the first settlement phase on Easter Island ,the time of which is set differently depending on the doctrine, between 400 and 1200 AD.
It is known that moai were considered to be containers of a special magical power – the mana of the Rapanui ancestors. Outwardly, moai are strikingly different from each other, there are several types of statues, Despite extensive research, its real purpose and the exact time of its construction are still debated among experts. Today it is assumed that they represent famous chiefs or universally revered ancestors who functioned as a link between this world and the other.
Despite its small population and its remote location, Rapa Nui is a popular travel destination, especially because of the sculptures created by the indigenous people centuries ago, the moai, which can be found all over the island.
Access : Coordinates: / Easter Island or Rapa Nui is the westernmost island of Chile and is located in Polynesia. / The only regular flight to Easter Island is provided by the Chilean airline LAN Airlines, which fly from Santiago to Tahiti, making a stopover on Easter Island. you can also get to Easter Island by direct flight from the capital of Peru, Lima. / The island’s attractions are accessible by cars, taxis, rental cars, and bikes.
- The typical ceremonial complex of Easter Island in classical times was usually between a village and the coast. Today it is assumed that every village that was inhabited by a clan or extended family had its own complex.
- Moai are stone statues on the coast of Easter Island in the form of a human head with a torso truncated at about waist level. Their height reaches 20 meters.The size of the figures probably increased more and more over time. On the Rano Raraku there is a 21-meter-long, unfinished moai preserved. The largest erect figure named Paro on Ahu Te Pito Kura is 9.8 meters high. The size of the statues is on the statistical mean 4.05 meters, the average weight 12.5 tons. ,Contrary to popular belief, they do not look towards the ocean, but inland. Some moai have redstone caps. Moai were made in quarries in the center of the island.The way of transport is controversial. Tradition reports that the Moai went to the Ahu on their own at night at the instigation of magical persons.
- Rano Raraku is an ancient volcano, on the slopes of which there are about 300 moai.
- Ahu Akivi, one of the few inland ahu, with the only moai facing the ocean.
- Puna Pau is a small volcano where red tuff was mined to make pukao hats that crown the heads of moai.
- Anakena is a coral sand beach. According to legend, it was here that the leader and forefather of the Rapanui people Khotu-Matu’a landed. Ahu Ature-Hooki and Naunau are located nearby.
- Tongariki is the largest ritual site on the island, with 15 moai in a row. One of the most frequently photographed places.
- Rano Khao is a volcano with the best observation deck of the island. Ahu Orongo is nearby.
- Te Pito te Henua (the navel of the Earth) is a ceremonial platform with a special round stone.
- Easter island diving : you can do a unique scuba diving: divers see a copy of a moai idol under water.
- Apart from the stone heads there are other interesting elements. Several years ago, French missionaries discovered some pieces of wood there, where various marks are engraved that resemble the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians. Historians and anthropologists believe that these paintings were the holy books of the ancient inhabitants of the island. But while many experts have tried to decipher these strange symbols, no one has succeeded.
- There is evidence that some of the statues may have been painted in color. Alfred Métraux found traces of red and black paint in a protected place on a figure on the Ahu Vinapu. The statue in the British Museum also shows slight traces of paint in white and red.
Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities, There is an observation deck on the Rano Kao volcano / trekking / Diving with various companies, including coral reefs / guided tours around the island / Surfing in the numerous bays.
Go next : Anakena is the most famous beach on the island / Te-Pito-te-Henua , is a ceremonial platform on an island made of round stones.