Rapa Nui National Park You Gotta Go Here
The Chilean Easter Island is the embodiment of the Polynesian culture. Its indigenous name is Rapa Nui and is one of the most intriguing cultural phenomena of the modern times. The Polynesians settled here in the AD300. They embarked on making some monuments that are renowned worldwide as the Moai.
The Moai statues were built between the 10th and 16th century and are one of the most revered shrines from the ancient world. Perhaps only the Angkor Wat in Cambodia can contend for the top spot with the Moai’s. Rapa Nui has unparalleled cultural landscape and is one of those places that you put on top of your bucket list.
On the Moai statues, you will find some ancient type of writing referred to as the ‘rongo rongo’. The ceremonial sites are known as ahu. Unfortunately, the rongo rongo writing is still undeciphered and scientists are yet to know what the writing means.
A social economic crisis hit the Rapa Nui in the 16th century – mainly over population and environment deterioration. The resultant effect was a division of the society into two groups that fought each other over time. Eventually, the warrior class that emerged from these divisions formed the Birdman cult that was based on the offshore island of Orongo. This cult slighted the moai and ahu and the era of moai’s and ahu’s was over.
A Dutch East India Company Employee – one Jacob Roggveen would discover the Rapa Nui Island in 1722 on Easter Sunday, hence the name Easter Island. The island was annexed to Chile in 1888.
This is how the Moai look: they are round headed, round eyed rock statues that also feature carved fingers, nostrils, long ears, among other features. The moai vary in size and finesse, signifying the changes in technology and craftsmanship in the area.
The Polynesians ceased to exist in the Island at about the 17th century. In fact, the natives of the Easter Island are almost non-existence. The Geology and cultural aspects of the island is still a major intrigue to the scientists, and this is further compounded by the fact that the island is isolated…about 900 kilometers from mainland Chile. Make this long trip and you will never regret!