Easter Island! Everyone knows this unique place in the world because of its isolation, its unique culture in the world and of course its monuments like its large stone faces called “moai”. Since the year 300, the island has been inhabited by Polynesians and they have developed a culture and a society isolated from all without undergoing any influence from an outside population. It is from the 10th century and until the 16th century that the well-known monuments of today see the light of day, forming one of the most unique cultural landscapes in the world.
This Chilean island called Rapa Nui among the natives is located 3700 km from the mainland coast, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean . Of the 16,628 hectares of the island, 7,000 are occupied by heritage. The area of the island is about 163 km² and has almost 5,000 inhabitants. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it attracts more than 65,000 curious people every year.
Easter Island was inhabited by a group of Polynesian settlers who developed a culture unique in the world after settling there, the remaining vestiges of which are the “moai” , these large statutes with human effigies and the “ahu”, ceremonial platforms all carved by hand between the 10th and 16th centuries. Nearly 900 moai, 300 ahu and other remains relating to agriculture, housing and funerary rites are accounted for. It is mainly the moai that attract tourists every year. 2 to 20 m high, they are all made of hard basalt rock. We still do not know at present what these statues were used for, what they represent or if they had a precise function.
The decrease in natural resources in the 17th century would have caused the fall of this Rapa Nui people. Over the centuries, due to Spanish colonization, the deportation of the Rapa Nui to restricted areas, slavery and the bringing of diseases by the settlers, the local population dwindled to nearly 100 people. Nowadays, the inhabitants of the island are Chilean immigrants, Europeans and the descendants of the Rapa Nui population.
Easter Island is a unique cultural vestige in the world, because it demonstrates the artistic talents of a population submissive to itself, without external influence from a neighboring people for more than a millennium. The construction of shrines, new structures and statues testify to a population built around a culture that is found nowhere else. The Rapa Nui created their own society and developed their own cult. It is through this historical aspect that the island contains an exceptional cultural landscape that cannot be found elsewhere. If you wish to discover Easter Island in its entirety, this is possible thanks to pedestrian, cyclic or motorized hikes and in this way you will be able to discover the cultural whole of the island and the vestiges of a very rare and isolated people.