Souvenirs from the Easter Island of Chile
Unlike other tropical paradises in the Pacific, the Easter Island is not just a small speck of land between Chile and Tahiti. It is one of the most puzzling enigmas of utter isolation and mystery. Souvenirs from the Easter Island try to capture the strange landscape of steep slopes, volcanic cones and chilling sea caves along a breathtaking coastline of magnificent beaches. It’s a lost paradise in the middle of the ocean with the Moai statues as its symbol. The mysterious giants erected across the land are intriguing masterpieces of rock art which silently gaze away to protect the island. Carved between AD 1000 and the 17th century, the Moai represent the ancestors’ spiritual legacy, erected mysteriously on a massive scale. With stylized angular faces, long bodies and coral eyes, the Moai are a proof of exquisite crafts and secret rituals as much as the island’s dramatic story of rise and fall speaks of its past of exploitation and conflict.
The Rise and Fall of the Rapa Nui and Moai
The obsessive creation of the Moai used most of the land’s resources and brought on starvation and atrocious cannibalism. In a decaying paradise, the ‘fittest’ would eat their rivals in a gruesome ritual that illustrated hunger and despair. The infamous men-eating cave of Ana Kai Tangata can be visited in the Southwest with its wall paintings of ghost creatures flying away to escape a bloody destiny. The new cult of the Birdman gradually replaced the Moai era and centered around Orongo. The cult worshiped the Makemake god of fertility and encouraged a fierce competition among locals with physically excruciating tests. Today visitors can purchase souvenirs with the hundreds of petro glyphs scenes. As diseases and conflicts between local destroyed most of the population, a brutal Christianization and the Chile annexation made the natives almost extinct.
South Pacific Legends of Island and Ocean
The origin of the Rapa Nui and the significance of their rituals are still unknown today. The name of the island comes from the Easter Sunday of 1722 when a Dutch sailor was the first European to step on the island. Another popular legend speaks of a 16th century Spanish ship wrecked near the Tahiti Islands with the survivors mixing with the island’s Polynesians. The Easter Island is, nevertheless, a legacy of brutal conflict: the missionaries destroyed most of its heritage (such as the Rongo-Rongo tablets with the lost language of the Rapa Nui) while the slave traders of Peru killed or took away most of inhabitants. Despite the numerous theories, the Rapa Nui people were an extraordinary civilization who flourished in complete isolation and whose unique craft is unrivaled.
Mysterious Tours, Volcanic Caves, Sandy Beaches
Any island tour takes the visitors to the beaches of Ahus Vaihu and Akahanga or to Rano Raraku, the statue quarry which still offers the chilling image of hundreds of giants lying on the slopes of the old volcano overlooking the crater lake. Ahu Tongariki, the biggest restoration venue for Moai is also opened to visitors as well as the superb beaches of Ovahe and Anakena which spread beyond the Ahu Te Pito Kura towards the warm waters of the Pacific. Whether it’s depicting a spectacular volcano, a strange carved cave, the Hanga Roa church or the Tahai complex with its superb sunsets, there is a lot of souvenirs to choose from. Gaze at the magnificent beaches like the ancient Moai do. Or listen carefully: in a land of secrets and legends, the warm breeze of the Pacific whispers timeless tales of mystery.