Mysterious Easter IslandAncient Megaliths and Mysteries | February 24, 2010
Easter Island (or Rapa Nui in Rapa Nui language which is an Eastern Polynesian language) is a distant volcanic island (164 square kilometres in area) located at the southeastern limit of Polynesia in South Pacific Ocean.
Easter Island was earlier called Te-Pito – Te-Henua (Land’s end). Easter Island today is inhabited by about 2,000 Rapa Nuis, mostly in and around Hanga Roa, the capital of Easter Island and its only town. Cooks Bay is the only port of Easter Island. The Spanish name of Easter Island is Isla de Pascua. Spanish and Rapa Nui are the main official languages spoken at Easter Island.
Easter Island is a special territory of Chile annexed under an agreement of September 1888. Today, Easter Island is a World Heritage Site and much of its area remains protected under the Rapa Nui National Park. Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen was the first recorded European explorer at Easter Island.
Easter Island is situated about 3,510 km west off the Chilean coast and is also about the same distance from Tahiti. Pitcairn Island, located about 1400 miles away, is the nearest inhabited land. Isla Salas y Gómez is the closest island but is uninhabited.
Mysterious ‘Moais’ of Easter Island:
Easter Island is particularly famous for its monumental statues called Moais (about 900 of them) that were created by the early Rapa Nui people. However, presence of these giant statues (average weight 14 tons, height 13 feet), chiseled out of volcanic basalt, along the coast as well as in the interior of the island has raised many a puzzle that are yet to be resolved. First, how these statues were made, second, how were they transported to the coast land and third, why were they stationed in such position (facing the sea)? And most importantly, who were these moais? Were they ancestral spirits or people of high echelons? These are some of the answers that historians are desperately looking about. Paro is the biggest moai, which is 82 tons in weight and about 32 feet in height.
Anakena Beach is a beautiful beach at the Easter Island featuring coconut palms and white sand. There is also an Ahu with 6 Moais guards.
Ahu Tahai (probably the earliest Ahu structures on the island dating back to 690 AD), Ahu Akivi and Ahu Vinapu are some of the Ahu structures.
Rano Rarku, looks like a virtual graveyard for the Moais today. Several half carved, broken and abandoned statues lie scattered here and there.
Reaching Easter Island:
- By air:
Flight from Santiago in Chile (time taken is about 5 hours)
- By water:
- Hotel Hanga Roa
- Taha Tai
- Tauraa Hotel
- Hotel Gomero