Discover Ranu Raraku Volcano, the Cradle of the Moai
You'll find Ranu Raraku Volcano, the cradle of the Moai, across the island from Hanga Roa. The volcano was formed in the wake of activity from Maunga Terevaka. It was chosen by the people of Rapa Nui to provide the materials for their monumental carved stone statues thanks to the relative softness of its rocks.
The volcano is one of the most appealing spots on the island for tourists and researchers alike because over 300 Moai statues
of varying sizes and states of completion are scattered on its slopes.
The statues were carved into the quarry wall and then transported to different Ahus (ceremonial centers). Work in the quarry ceased after the island's tribal wars, and the remaining Moai were left there, upright or toppled. As time passed, they began to be covered by the elements, which is why some of them are partly buried.
One of the interesting things about the statues is their variety in terms of their size and position. For example, at Ranu Raraku there is a Moai that appears to be kneeling. Some say that the statue was meant to represent a priest, while others think its creators meant it as an ancestor who would guard the quarry and watch over future generations of carvers.
This location is also home to the biggest Moai on the island
. Measuring 21.6 meters long and lying on its back, this half-carved statue is still attached to the quarry rock.
The volcano's crater is oval-shaped and contains a fresh water lagoon surrounded by native vegetation including juncos and totoras. Several dozen Moai look out onto the lagoon from the interior slope.
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