Saturday, 25 May 2019

Beautiful and Mysterious Easter Island

easter island

Francis Mazier
Mysterious Easter Island

Beautiful and Mysterious Easter Island

Easter Island (or Rapanui) is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia, belonging to Chile. He received worldwide fame thanks to nine hundred huge statues called moai, which were created by local residents in the period from the XIII to the XVI century. The statues are stone-carved human figures with large heads, many of which rest on the gigantic stone pedestals of the ahu. On the largest ahu, Tongriki, there are 15 vertical statues of various sizes. Easter Island is named so by its discoverer – the Dutch traveler Jacob Roggeven, because it was opened on Easter Day in 1722. This island is also known as Rapa Nui (big Rapa), so the island was called Polynesian (Tahitian) sailors and whalers, as opposed to just Rapa, an island 650 km south of Tahiti. 

Beautiful and Mysterious Easter Island - photo 1

Island

Easter Island is located in the Pacific Ocean (27 ° 07 ‘S. 109 ° 21’ W), geographically it belongs to Polynesia, this is the easternmost point of the “Polynesian Triangle”. The nearest continent – South America is located from Easter Island more than 3,700 km to the east. The climate of Easter Island is subtropical. The average annual temperature is 21.8 ° C, the coldest month is August (19.2 ° C), and the warmest is January (24.6 ° C). Despite being close to the tropics, temperatures are relatively mild. Heat rarely happens. This is due to the proximity of the cold Humboldt current.

Beautiful and Mysterious Easter Island - photo 2

Island

Rano-Raraku is an ancient volcano, on the slopes of which there are about 300 moai, of various heights and at different stages of readiness. Not far from the bay is the ahu of Tongariki, the largest ritual site with 15 statues of various sizes installed on it. Anakena, Pune pau, Rano Kao, Te Pito-te-henois. 

Anakena – a bay with a coral sand beach. According to legend, it was here that the leader and forefather of Rapanuyans of Hotu-Matu’a landed. Close by are the ahu of Ature-Hooky and Naunau. Puna Pau is a small volcano where a red tuff was mined to make pukao caps crowning the heads of the moai. Rano-Kao – a volcano with the best observation deck of the island. Nearby is ahu Orongo. Te-Pito-te-henoy (navel of the Earth) is a ceremonial platform with a special round stone.

Amazing Easter Island for many decades agitated the imagination of several generations of anthropologists and archaeologists. Now he is well studied, and there are few unsolved mysteries left on him, which, of course, does not make him less interesting. True, curious people rarely get here anyway – very far away, and, accordingly, expensive.

Beautiful and Mysterious Easter Island - photo 3

Island

Easter Island Facts

  • The only city on it is Anga-Roa, and about 90% of all islanders live here.
  • Locals call the island Rapa Nui.
  • The famous statues of Easter Island, moai, are made of tuff, a mineral that represents compressed volcanic ash.
  • The whole island since 1995 is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The area of ​​Easter Island is several square kilometers larger than the area of ​​the European principality of Liechtenstein (interesting facts about Liechtenstein).
  • Easter Island Facts
  • It is very poor in vegetation. On the whole Easter Island, only about 30 different plant species grow, most of which were once brought here.
  • More recently, a unique toromiro tree grew here, but at the beginning of the last century it was completely destroyed.
  • Prior to the emergence of a centralized water supply system on Easter Island, local residents took fresh water from lakes formed in the craters of extinct volcanoes.
  • Since 1888, the island officially belongs to Chile.
  • Easter Island Facts
  • There is a school on Easter Island, but if the locals want to get a better education, after they graduate they go to the mainland to enroll in one of the Chilean universities (interesting facts about Chile).
  • All the famous statues of moai look inland, not in the ocean.
  • The first people arrived on Easter Island about 1200-1500 years ago. Scientists believe that they were two large families, sailed here on a pair of large boats.
  • Since the trees on Easter Island were almost destroyed, there are no forests on it now.
  • Aborigines for a long time the measure of wealth was chickens. The more people they had, the richer he was.
  • Easter Island Facts
  • The first documented European visit of Easter Island dates back to the beginning of the 18th century.
  • Once there was even a famous explorer James Cook (interesting facts about Cook).
  • At the beginning of the 19th century, the crew of the Russian ship “Rurik” tried to land on Easter Island, but the natives met them with hostility, and the disembarkation failed.
  • The indigenous population of Easter Island was greatly reduced due to smallpox brought here by Europeans.
  • Even before the advent of Christian missionaries, the islanders had their own writing system based on unique hieroglyphs.
  • Easter Island Facts
  • 10 years after the official annexation of Easter Island to the Chilean territories, the island’s supreme leader went to Chile to complain about the abuse of power by local Chileans. Shortly after his arrival, he died under mysterious circumstances. More on Island there were no supreme leaders.
  • The decline of the local civilization began long before the arrival of the Europeans, mainly due to the destruction of forests on the island (interesting facts about ancient civilizations).
  • The most ancient statues of moai on Island for about a thousand years.
  • A total of about 900 statues have survived to this day.
  • Some of them are over 20 meters high.
  • There is not a single river on Island.
    Beautiful and Mysterious Easter Island - photo 4

    Island

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