Rapa Nui National Park Chile

Rapa Nui, the indigenous name of Easter Island, bears witness to a unique cultural phenomenon. A society of Polynesian origin that settled there c. A.D. 300 established a powerful, imaginative and original tradition of monumental sculpture and architecture, free from any external influence. From the 10th to the 16th century this society built shrines and erected enormous stone figures known as moai , which created an unrivalled cultural landscape that continues to fascinate people throughout the world. Rapa Nui contains one of the most remarkable cultural phenomena in the world.

Chile Rapa Nui National Park
Continent: South America
Country: Chile
Category: Cultural
Criterion: (I) (III) (V)
Date of Inscription: 1995

Unparalleled cultural landscape

An artistic and architectural tradition of great power and imagination was developed by a society completely isolated from external cultural influences of any kind for over a millennium. The substantial remains of this culture blend with their natural surroundings to create an unparalleled cultural landscape.

Rapa Nui National Park
Moai Stone Figures

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High cultural level

The island was settled around AD 300 by Polynesians, probably from the Marquesas, who brought with them a wholly Stone Age society. All the cultural elements in Rapa Nui before the arrival of Europeans indicate that there were no other incoming groups. Between the 10th and 16th centuries the island community expanded steadily, settlements being set up along practically the entire coastline.

The high cultural level of this society is best known from its monumental stone figures (moai ) and ceremonial shrines (ahu ); it is also noteworthy for a form of pictographic writing (rongo rongo ), so far undeciphered.

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