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  • Easter Island- World Heritage Site,Easter Island

                                                           Easter Island- World Heritage Site                                


    Easter Island--Rapa Nui is also known as Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua, meaning ‘The Navel of the World’, and as Mata-Ki-Te-Rani, meaning ‘Eyes Looking at Heaven’. It is a tiny speck of land in the South Pacific. Located in the South Pacific between Chile and Tahiti, Easter Island is one of the most isolated inhabited islands in the world.  Roughly triangular and covering only 64 square miles, it was formed when a plume of hot material rose from deep within Earth's interior, burned through the crust and erupted onto the surface as lava. Lava tubes and pounding waves have created hundreds of sea caves and a treacherous coastline, due to which the island was only inhabited by sea birds and dragonflies for millions of years.


    Easter Island’s silent stone figures are a monument to the seafaring skills and unique culture of ancient Polynesian peoples.In A.D. 1200 (or thereabouts), a small group of Polynesians, it might have been a single family who made their way there, settled in and began to farm. When they arrived, the place was covered with trees as many as 16 million of them, some towering 100 feet high. 



    The Polynesian’s culture's most famous features are its enormous stone statues called moai, at least 288 of which once stood upon massive stone platforms called Ahu. These monuments, known, as moai are some of the most incredible ancient relics ever discovered. The people of Easter Island called themselves the Rapa Nui. Soon ahu with erected moai were installed on all corners of the island, until over one thousand had been carved, and the population of the island also continued to grow. For decades the competition to build the biggest and best moai went on, and different ahu - each belonging to a different clan - formed an almost unbroken line along the coast of Easter Island. Scholars are unable to definitively explain the function and use of the moai statues. However, many of the statues have sunk into the earth, with only their heads showing. 



    There have been many theories to suggest how the Moai statues were moved from the quarry to their existing location, however, the most likely scenario is that they were ‘walked’ into place by the use of ropes with the statue leaning slightly forward and the use of a rocking motion from side to side, which required approximately 18 people. Around Ten full Moai statues have been transported to other parts of the world and can be seen in museums. The most difficult task is to preserve them due to the nature of their original material. Today's Rapa Nui keep alive their traditions and stories, however, and archaeological efforts in recent years have protected the moai from further destruction. 


    23 Jan 2015

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