Easter Island is located in the south eastern part of the Pacific Ocean and is a special territory of Chile under the Valparaiso region and only commune in the province of Isla de Pascua. Much of the island is protected within the Rapa Nui National Park which is a World Heritage Site since 1995. The Easter Island is one of the world’s most sacred and important archaelogical sites and is famous for its stone cravings built centuries ago known as the Moai statues, reflecting the culture and history of the isolated Polynesian people. There is a total of 887 Moai in the island with an average height of 4 metres and width of 1.6 metres at its base weighing over 10 tonnes each.
Row of Moai statues at Ahu Tongariki
Image attribution to zewegers @ Flickr
Close up on one of the Moai
The volcano crater at Rano Kao
Image attribution to Professor X @ Wiki
Cravings on red stone known as Makemake
Image attribution to Rivi @ Wiki
Easter Island is believed to be one of the youngest inhabited places on Earth and was believed to be inhabited around the 8th century onwards while some believed the first settlers was as early as the 4th century by the inhabitants in Hawaii. The Austronesian Polynesians are likely to be the first settlers on the island arriving from the western side of the Marquesas Islands. All the Moai statues were toppled during the end of the 18th century due to internal conflicts among islanders according to European recordings. The first European explorer on the island was Dutch nagivator Jacob Roggeveen and reported an estimated 2000-3000 inhabitants on the island. The Easter Island was annexed by the government of Chile in 1888 who signed the treaty with the Rapa Nui people but the inhabitants were congined to the settlement of Hanga Roa. In 1966, the Rapa Nui began receiving Chilean citizenship and started embracing their ancient culture, reconstructing the island.
Small rock island across where the birdman cult competes
Image attribution to artemi ourbina @ Flickr
Ancient ceremonial ground in Orongo
Moai statues in Rano Raraku
Cute looking Moai in Aku Koteriku
Getting there :
The only airport on the Easter Island is the Mataveri International Airport (IPC) served only by the LAN airlines from the capital of Chile in Santiago.