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Moai Statues

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The Mysterious Moai Statues of Easter Island

The inhabitants of Easter Island built ceremonial centers known as Ahus. Every tribe had its own Ahu, which was used to house Moai statues that would be positioned facing the villages on stone platforms with their backs to the sea.

These stone colossuses represented venerable ancestors who would watch over the tribes.

It's estimated that the people of Easter Island carved more than a thousand Moai. Their intense dedication to their craft led them to neglect the island's agriculture, and the ensuing shortage of food led to bloody tribal warfare.

Records indicate that 638 of the over one thousand statues carved can still be found throughout the island territory.

In the Hanga Roa area, you'll find Ahu Tahai, a ceremonial complex consisting of three Ahus – Ahu Vai Uri, Ahu Tahai and Ahu Ko Te Riku – and seven Moai, one of which has white coral eyes.

The largest Ahu, Tongariki, is located near Rano Raraku Volcano. Nearly 200 meters in length, it is home to 15 Moai, each with different features. In 1960, the Ahu was devastated by a seaquake that scattered the Moai hundreds of meters from the site. The center, which is the largest ceremonial altar in Polynesia, was restored in the 1990s with the help of Japan.

The only Moai statues that face the sea are located at Ahu Akivi, in the eastern part of the island. According to legend, its seven statues represent the seven navigators that King Hotu Matu'a sent to follow the rising sun in search of lands for his people after a clairvoyant priest dreamed that his land, Hiva, would be devastated by natural disasters.

 

Featured Destinations

aHanga Roa bAnakena
cRanu Raraku dOrongo

 

Tours you can do

The Caves
Moai Statues

 

Tips

01

Follow the Rules    
Visitors may not go up onto the stone platforms or touch the Moai.    

 

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