The tour of the North and East side of the Island
Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
17Trip End Aug 20, 2011
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For the most part the tiny island is now fairly barren except for short grasses--a product of overpopulation, cutting down too many trees, ecological issues, internal civil strife and environmental issues. But its got those magnificent moai to draw people from all over the world to make it an amazing place to visit. The MOAI (pronounced MOW-EYE) are the volcanic stone carvings the islanders carved out of the side of volcanic craters, and moved down the volcanoes to their villages. Each chief had a moai built that would be the embodiment of his "power." They would set the moai up on rock platforms or shrines, called AHUS. Many moai also had headdresses of some kind, we heard they were hats or hair topknots, called PUKAO (pronounced PU-COW). The moai would face their village. These moai are all over the island--there are estimated to be over a thousand of them. All of them were knocked over at one time during internal civil war, and most are still lying flat on the ground where they were knocked over, many broken in pieces. Interested countries and people from abroad have raised some of them on their platforms again. They are enormous--most of them are about 20 to 69 feet in height.