, two craters of which are located at opposite ends of the island. Easter Island is the most remote, inhabited island. The nearest continental civilization is situated 2361 miles (3800 kilometers) away. One can get to the island either by boat or by plane. The airport is small, but its runway was built with funding from NASA, and was used as a reserve for one of the shuttles. It almost divides the island into two parts, from end to end.
The island is tropical. The weather can change sharply several times a day. One minute the sun is out, then suddenly there's a downpour. There are two small rocky beaches. Population is about 4000 people. 60 of them are the
or indigenous people. They all are relatives :-). You can see one of the local guides who identifies himself as indigenous in this picture.
The volcano has two craters on opposite ends of the island. Here is the smaller one, it is called Rano Aroi. It is located next to the Orongo cultural reserve.
The surface of the lake looks very unusual because of the vegetation.
Most stones and moai are decorated with such petroglyphs:
This is the view of the island Motu Nui (it's the largest one), Motu Iti (the one in the middle) and Motu Kao Kao (the smallest one) from Orongo. Islands are part of a cult, i.e. they are associated with the cult of the Birdman (as well as petroglyphs). The ruler was chosen in a strange way; he had to descend the cliff quickly to get to Motu Nui and find an egg. Then he had to return, also very quickly. The tribe that was the first to find it was the secretary general for the following period. Both sports and elections :-).
Victory gave an opportunity to occupy an area with elite real estate. Here it is - a dream house:
Other dwellings were much simpler. It looks like a small hole, covered with a roof, that looks like an upside down pirogue. At best, one could hide here from the wind. A cave is a different matter! There was really a lot of space.
Moreover, there was bananas growing in such places. This is a huge luxury. All of the island's population abided numerous rules because resources were very limited. Easter Island is considered one of the examples of how human activity has led to an environmental disaster and the complete depletion of resources.
There is a theory that the forests were destroyed thanks to the main island's landmarks - large Moai stone sculptures. Logs were used to move them around the island. But this is only a theory. Local people claim that Moai got to their destination on their own, using only the Mana energy.
The second crater also has a lake and sculptures on its slopes.
That's how moai were carved. Here you can see an unfinished sculpture.
These are also statues on the slope. Apparently, they did not reach their platform.
The second crater is called Rano Raraku. Here we met a herd of horses. There are a lot of horses on the island - about 500. However, there are almost no other animals.
By the way, most of the moai do not stand on the Ahu (platform) but lie on the ground. This was the result of tribal wars. Moai is the sculpture of a tribal chief. It was absolutely necessary to humiliate the neighboring tribe by dropping their leader's sculpture after the conquest. This included dining with the captured enemies, because they might get tired and hungry during the battle. All Ahu with erect Moai are the restored ones.
These are no hats on the heads of the moai. Hats are not a necessity in the warm, tropical climate of the island. However, there was a thatched hat on one statue.
One of the first researchers, a Catholic pastor (I forgot his name), thoroughly documented and numbered all the sculptural remains of the island. Unfortunately, a unique alphabet Rongorongo was lost. Now, tablets with the hieroglyphs play the role of souvenirs; there's no one who can read what it is written there.
This beautiful drawing on the sand was drawn by our guide. By the way, he was not Rapa Nui, but an American from Wisconsin. The quiet island life attracted him a lot more thsn the concrete jungle of the metropolis. He already drew almost like the indigenous inhabitants. Running wild. :-) In fact, he explained to us what petroglyphs of the Birdman cult look like.
Finally, let me show you the world's center.
The Rapa Nui call it the "Navel of the Earth". According to legend, this round stone was the counterweight of the great leader's canoe that sailed to Easter Island. As proof, they usually offer to sit around and hold your hands to feel the energy coming from you. This is a magnetically anomalous place. Our compass was really "going crazy" at this point.