Easter Island is simply my favourite place on the planet. The most
isolated, inhabited spot on the globe, its closest neighbours lay
1200 miles away deep in the South Pacific. Its appropriately referred
to as 'Te pito te henua' 'the navel of the earth.
island is also known in Spanish as Isla de Pascua, but its proper
name is Rapa Nui. Its land is a Unesco World heritage site for its
700+ giant stone figures, known as 'Moai' (pronounced 'moe-eye'),
which were hand carved without the use of metal, over the course
of over a thousand years.
the islanders obsession with carving and moving these multi-tonne
wonders, they destroyed their own eco system, by cutting down virtually
all of the island's trees. Trees that had provided protection for
new seedlings, material for shelter and for sea-faring craft. Unable
to grow much new food and virtually unable to fish the waters, the
islanders fell into a state of great hunger
islanders also suffered at the hands of the Conquistadors shortly
after the island was discovered in 1722, who captured many of the
inhabitants and worked them as slaves in South America. They returned
with disease which almost dessimated the once thriving population
- including all who knew the reason for creating the Moai
the island's people struggle with the growth of tourism - essential
to their economy, but an ever growing burden on Rapa Nui's precious
few resources and to the statues themselves.
been to the island twice, and the growth in that time is nothing
short of alarming. Now walls have gone up around some of the sites
and an influx of 'rules' now abound.
to be surrounded by hundreds of these silent sentinels, each keeping
quiet about the mysteries of the islands past, is pure magical.
tuned for more photos to come
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