Easter Island. National Park «Rapa Nui»
Photographer Gerhard Bachmayer
Easter island is an island in the South Pacific ocean, Chile. The local name for the island Rapa Nui (rap. Rapa Nui). Area — 163,6 KMI. Coordinates — 27°07′ s. sh. 109°21′ s. D. / 27.116667° s. sh. 109.35° W. D. (G)-27.116667, -109.35.
Easter Island. National Park «Rapa Nui»
Easter island along with the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited island in the world. The distance to the continental coast of Chile is 3703 km, to the island of Pitcairn, the nearest inhabited place, — 1819 km. the Island was discovered by Dutch Explorer Jacob Roggeveen on Easter Sunday 1722.
The capital of the island and its only town — Hanga ROA. The island is home to 3.7 million people (2005).
Rapa Nui is largely known thanks to moai, or stone statues of compressed volcanic ash, which, according to the beliefs of local residents, lies the supernatural power of ancestors of the first king of Easter island — the Hot Matu. In 1888 annexed by Chile. In 1995 the national Park «Rapa Nui» has become a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The island has the shape of a rectangular triangle, the hypotenuse of which is the South-Eastern shore. The sides of this triangle have lengths 16, 18 and 24 km At the corners of the Islands are extinct volcanoes: Rano Kao (rap. Rano Kao) (324 m) near the settlement of Hanga ROA; PUA-Katika (rap. Puakatike) (377 m) and Terevaka (rap. Terevaka) (539 m, the highest point of the island). the highest crater of the volcano of Terevaka is called Early-Aroi (rap. Rano Aroi) (200 m). Actually the «Before-Arai» is the name of the lake that fills an extinct crater.
Another Terevaka crater — rano Raraku (rap. Rano Raraku) (160 m) is also a lake with a large supply of fresh water surrounded by reedbed. The diameter of this crater is about 650 m.
The diameter of the crater Before-Khao — about 1500 m, depth — 800 m. the Volcano has a symmetrical shape and is surrounded by rolling countryside. The southern slope ends in the ocean.
On the inner slopes of the volcanoes, the vegetation more abundant. This is due to more fertile soil, the absence of strong winds and the «greenhouse effect».
Easter island is of volcanic origin. The soil was formed by erosion of the slopes of the volcanoes. The most fertile soil is located in the North of the island, where villagers grow yams, or sweet potatoes, and yams. The most common rocks on the island — basalt, obsidian, rhyolite, trachyte. Cliffs in the Bay of La Perouse (local name — Hanga-Hoono) consist of lava red
The climate of Easter island is warm, subtropical. The average annual temperature is 21.8 °C, the coldest month is August (19,2 °C), the warmest is January (24,6 °C). The island lies near the southern border zone of the South-Eastern winds blowing in the summer. Winter is dominated by the North-West, but there are also South-Western and South-Eastern winds. Despite the proximity to the tropics, the island’s climate is relatively temperate. Rarely hot. This is due to the proximity of the cold Humboldt current, and the absence of any land between the island and the Antarctica. Wind from the Antarctic in July-August often reduce the daily temperature to 20° Celsius.
The main source of fresh water on the island — lakes formed in the craters of the local volcanoes. In Rapa Nui there are no rivers and rain water easily seeps through the soil, resulting in groundwater that flow towards the ocean. Since water on the island not so much that the locals in the past everywhere have built wells and a small reservoir.
Moai — stone statues on the coast of Easter island in the shape of a human head height up to 20 meters. Contrary to popular belief, they «look» to the side of the ocean, and in the interior of the island. Some moai have «hats» of red stone. Manufactured moai in the quarry in the centre of the island. How they were delivered to the coast is unknown. According to legend, they were themselves. Recently, the volunteer enthusiasts have found several ways to transport stone blocks. But how it was used by the ancient inhabitants (or some) is not defined. Many unfinished statues are in quarries. A detailed study of the island the impression of the suddenness of the cessation of work on the statues.
Rano Raraku is one of the most interesting places for tourists. At the foot of the volcano is located about 300 moai in various heights and at various stages of readiness. Near the Bay is AHU Tongariki, the largest ritual site with 15 mounted with statues of various sizes.
On the Bay of Anak is one of the most beautiful beaches of the island with crystal white coral sand. In the Bay are allowed to swim. Within the palm groves for tourists arrange picnics. Also close to the Bay are from Anakena AHU Atur Hooks and AHU, Naunau. Drewnianymi according to legend, the Bay landed the Hot and Matu, the first king of Rapa Nui, the first settlers of the island.
Te-pito-te-henua (rap. the navel of the Earth) — ceremonial site on the island of round stones. Quite a controversial place on Rapa Nui. Anthropologist Christian Walter argues that Te-pito-te-henua were installed in the 1960-ies to attract to the island gullible tourists.
On the volcano rano Kao has an observation deck. Near the ceremonial site of Orongo.
Puna Pau is a small volcano close Early-Kao. In the distant past there was obtained the stone of red, which made «hats» for local moai.
The flora of Islands very poor: experts estimate no more than 30 species of plants growing on Rapa Nui. Most of them were brought from other Islands of Oceania, America and Europe. Many plants, previously widespread on Rapa Nui, wiped out. Between the IX—XVII centuries there was an active cutting down of trees which led to deforestation on the island (probably before that, it was native palm species Paschalococos disperta). Another reason was the eating of tree seeds by rats. In connection with the irrational human activities and other factors resulting accelerated soil erosion caused enormous damage to agriculture, resulting in the population of Rapa Nui was significantly reduced.
One of extinct plants — Sophora toromiro, a local whose name, toromiro (rap. toromiro). This plant on the island in the past played an important role in the culture ramanujam: it was done «talking signs» with the local icons.
The barrel toromiro diameter in the human hip, and thinner, often used in the construction of houses; and it was done spears. In XIX—XX centuries this tree was destroyed (one of the reasons was that the young shoots destroyed brought to the island of sheep).
Another plant of the island, the mulberry tree, the local name which machete (rap. mahute). In the past, this plant also played a significant role in the life of the islanders: from silkworm cocoons was made a white robe, called machete worn by women (like Polynesian Tapa). After the appearance of the first Europeans on the island, whalers and missionaries — the value of mahuta in life ramanujam decreased.
The roots of plants (rap. ti), or Dracaena terminalis, was used for the manufacture of sugar. Also, this plant was used for producing powder of deep blue and green, which is then applied on the body as tattoos.
Makai (rap. makoi) (Thespesia populnea) has been used for carving.
One of the survivors of the island plants, which grows on the slopes of the crater Before-Kao and rano Raraku — Scirpus californicus, used in the construction of houses.
In recent decades, the island began to appear small clump of eucalyptus. In the XVIII—XIX centuries on the island was imported grapes, banana, melon, sugar cane.
Before the arrival of Europeans fauna of Easter island were mainly represented by marine animals: seals, turtles, crabs. Until the XIX century, the island had chickens. Indigenous species formerly inhabited the Rapa Nui died out. For example, rats Rattus exulans, which in the past the locals used to eat. Instead, the island was brought to the European courts of a rat of the species Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus, which have become carriers of various diseases not previously known to ramanujam.
Now nest on the island 25 species of seabirds inhabit 6 species of land birds.