What is Ahu Nau Nau? 7 Tips for visiting Ahu Nau Nau

What is Ahu Nau Nau?
The vision of the Ahu Nau Nau framed between the palm trees, the white sand and the turquoise blue of the exotic beach of Anakena is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful that can be seen in Easter Island. It has become an icon for tourism in Rapa Nui.

However, it was not always so. For many years this moai stood alone on his pedestal with no protection against vandalism or theft until it was moved to its current location inside a protective cage surrounded by concrete bollards 12 meters high and 4 meters wide at each corner to protect visitors from any possible harm.

This article will introduce about one of the most tourism in Easter land and some tips for visiting this wonderful island.

What is Ahu nau nau?

What is Ahu nau nau?
What is Ahu nau nau?

The Ahu Nau Nau is located about 150 meters inland from the quiet shore of Anakena Beach, in the Chilean island of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. Ahu Nau Nau has become one of the most distinctive features on East Island mostly because of its unique shape. It is also considered to be one of the mysteries about Easter Island.

Ahu Nau Nau is a series of seven statues that are piled together to form what seems to be a single massive idol. Each statue, or moai , is about 2 meters tall by 1.5 meters wide. The fact that none of the statues are standing upright makes it one of Rapa Nui’s most unusual archaeological sites.

The name “Nau Nau” means “many heads” in Spanish, although some people refer to it as “the seven moai.” Its real name is Ahu Nau Nau, which means the plain of statues. In its original form, there were ten statues that made up this pile. However, six of them have been stolen since then and taken to different parts of the island to be displayed in museums.

Two other artifacts from Ahu Nau Nau have also been removed in the past. In 1945, a worker from one of the local missions decided to place a flag on top of one of the statues after he had successfully repaired it. However, that caused serious damage to the statue’s head, an act that was considered sacrilege at that time.

The best preserved statues on the island?

The best preserved statues on the island?
The best preserved statues on the island?

The statues at Ahu Nau Nau are no longer upright. Some of them are turned upside down while others are resting on their left or right sides. However, unlike other moai that have been toppled over the years, these statues seem to maintain their balance in any position they are placed in.

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Some people believe that this could be because unlike the other statues that are made of compressed volcanic ash, these moai are made from hard basalt. Others attribute this phenomenon to the mysterious powers of ancient Polynesians who placed the seven heads facing in different directions.

To this day, there is no consensus regarding how these heads ended up on their side or upside down and why they were stacked on top of each other to form this unique idol. Archaeologists, local people and residents still consider this to be one of the biggest mysteries on Easter Island.

Ancient recycled heads, petroglyphs and tattoos on the island?

Theahu were frequently rebuilt over time due to the fact that each adjustment was designed with a distinct purpose. The new bosses would make visible changes by adding or changing certain details in order distinguish themselves from their predecessors, while also rebuilding the entire structure if needed!

In fact, there is evidence that the heads on the Ahu Nau Nau were not made originally to serve as part of an idol. Archaeologists believe that they were once parts of various other statues and were recycled to be used at the Ahu Nau Nau. The heads and bodies did not match, while the faces had clearly different expressions, which were unlike the others on Rapa Nui.

The site also has various artworks that are associated with the heads. They consisted of, for example, spirals and fish-hook figures that were commonly found in other parts of the island.

Another interesting fact relates to the tattoos that were discovered on some of the heads. They are believed to have been applied by Polynesian visitors who also created new designs on top of the existing tattoos.

The coral eye that changed the history of Easter Island?

The coral eye that changed the history of Easter Island?
The coral eye that changed the history of Easter Island?

In 1889, a stone that was carefully engraved with a series of concentric circles was discovered at the site. In addition to that, it also had the shape of an eye that was chiseled into its middle. This caused debate because it proved that Easter Island once had contact with the outside world, which was previously thought to be impossible.

The stone was later sent to France, but it disappeared during the First World War. Some claim that it is in the hands of a private collector. Others believe that it was lost while being transferred to Lyon, France.

Regardless of what happened, this artifact represents a significant discovery on Easter Island.

Ahu Ature Huke, the first restored moai

One of the most important archaeological sites in Easter Island is Ahu Ature Huke. The site was restored by Thor Heyerdahl and his wife, who, upon arriving on the island in 1955, realized that the locals had cut down all of the heads. He decided to replace them with new ones, but the job was not an easy one.

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First of all, no one knew what the original statues looked like because they had been destroyed. This meant that the Scandinavian team had to create new statues based on photographs, drawings and oral descriptions by the islanders.

Another problem was that no one knew how to erect the statues. They ultimately used a method that involved tying the upper part of the moai to ropes and inserting them into holes that were chiseled on top of the pillars.

After they were stabilized, the pillars were covered with basalt slabs, which was a common technique used by the Rapa Nui people.

In 1955, restoration work on this site was completed and it was officially inaugurated by the Queen of Denmark, who gave it to Chile in 1957.

The significance of Ahu Nau Nau in our culture and society

The significance of Ahu Nau Nau in our culture and society
The significance of Ahu Nau Nau in our culture and society

Although these Ahu Nau Nau were built more than 500 years ago, they still stand as a symbol of the society on Rapa Nui. They represent the desire to continue living and thriving as a community under certain guidelines. In this case, those principles were the moai which represented important ancestors who lived in earlier times.

In fact, the Ahu Nau Nau were considered the guardians of Rapa Nui because they stood in front of each house that belonged to a family. They also protected the community from bad spirits and other threats.

In addition, some people believe that these Ahu nau nau played a significant role in navigation by acting as beacons for seafarers. However, there is not enough evidence to prove this theory.

We also know that they were an important part of the Forefathers’ Eve celebration, which was the most important ritual in the Rapa Nui culture. It was a cultural and spiritual event that involved dancing and singing near the Ahu Nau Nau. This tradition has been lost, but the symbol of these moai statues is still strong in Rapa Nui’s culture.

Tips for visiting Ahu Nau Nau

If you go to Easter Island, visiting at least one of these Ahu Nau Nau is an absolute must. In fact, some people believe that it is necessary to visit all of them in order to understand the island’s history and character.

These are some of the most important things to keep in mind when you visit one of these Ahu Nau Nau:

  • Make sure to dress appropriately. Despite the fact that it is not snowing or raining, make sure to wear clothes that cover your arms and legs. In this way, you will respect the island’s cultural traditions which have been lost over time.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the island, so make sure you do not bring your pet with you.
  • Make sure to carry drinking water with you because there is limited access to clean water on the island.
  • Do not take photos of locals without asking their permission first. This is a sign of respect.
  • Make sure to be respectful around archaeological sites because people sacrificed their lives in order To build them. That is why the Rapa Nui people are very protective of these areas.
  • Do not climb on top of or touch the moai statues, since they are fragile and could collapse.
  • Do not remove any stones from these sites. This is another sign of disrespect and could cause the site to deteriorate over time.
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How to get to Ahu Nau Nau

Getting to Ahu Nau Nau from Hanga Roa is quite simple. All you have to do is walk along the coast until you reach Anakena beach. From there, it should be a straight shot because this location is very close by.

You can also catch a bus that goes to various sites on the island including Ahu Nau Nau. These are normally red buses that have a sign on them that says “Rapanui Tour” in the front window. Just wave down one of these buses and it should stop to pick you up if there is enough room.

If you want, you can also hire a taxi or rent your own vehicle (if you prefer). However, the easiest way to get there is by walking.

Other transportation options

Another option for transport would be by bike, which is the most popular method of transportation on this island. You can ride through Anakena beach until you slowly reach Ahu Nau Nau. It is a very wonderful and scenic ride that will allow you to view the Pacific Ocean and other amazing sites of interest on this island.

Location Map

Location Map
Location Map

FAQ about what is Ahu Nau Nau

1. Who built Ahu Nau Nau?

We do not know who built these moai statues, but we believe it was the ancient Rapa Nui civilization. They were already populating the island when Europeans discovered it in 1722.

2. What do you call those humanoid monoliths on Easter island?

We have different names for these moai statues. In their native tongue, they are known as “Moai.” The plural form of this word is “moai.” However, we call them Easter Island Heads. Some people distinguish between the different moai statues by calling them “Large Heads” and “Small Heads.”

3. Final thoughts on Ahu Nau Nau and how it relates to us as individuals, families, communities, and global citizens?

There is a lot of mystery surrounding these moai statues and the Ahu Nau Nau. It is believed that they may have been for religious sacrifice. Despite this, they are an important part of Rapa Nui history and their culture.

If you go to Easter Island, make sure to visit the Ahu Nau Nau. They are some of the most important moai statues because they show Easter Island’s most notable feature, which is their large heads and small torsos.

As a traveler, it is important to know about the local history of any island you visit. These moai statues help you understand how the people of this island lived and why they are considered to be a world heritage site.

In this blog post, We just show you about a little great things in Ahu Nau Nau. It have many interesting things waiting for you to discover. If you are planning your holiday in that day, this is one of the best for your choice.

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