Rapa Nui (English: Easter Island, Spanish: Isla de Pascua) is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park. The island was settled between 700-1100AD.
Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The nearest inhabited land (with only 50 residents) is Pitcairn Island (2,075 kilometres (1,289 mi) away), and the nearest continental point lies in central Chile, at 3,512 kilometres (2,182 mi) away. The island has an area of 163.6 square kilometres (63.2 sq mi), and a maximum altitude of 507 meters (1,663 ft). There are three Rano (freshwater crater lakes), at Rano Kau, Rano Raraku and Rano Aroi, but no permanent streams or rivers.
The large stone statues, or moai, for which Easter Island is world-famous, were carved from 1100–1680 CE. A total of 887 monolithic stone statues have been inventoried on the island and in museum collections so far. Although often identified as "Easter Island heads", the statues have torsos, most of them ending at the top of the thighs, although a small number of them are complete, with the figures kneeling on bent knees with their hands over their stomachs. Some upright moai have become buried up to their necks by shifting soils. Many of the moai are placed on ahus (stone platforms) although not all ahus have moai on them.
Only a quarter of the statues were installed, while nearly half remained in the quarry at Rano Raraku and the rest sat elsewhere, probably on their way to final locations. The largest moai ever raised on a platform is known as "Paro". It weighs 82 tons and was 9.8 m (32.15 ft) tall.
In addition to the moai, Easter Island is world-renowned for its petroglyphs. Easter Island has one of the richest collections of petroglyphs in all Polynesia. Around 1,000 sites with more than 4,000 petroglyphs are catalogued. Designs and images were carved out of rock for a variety of reasons: to create totems, to mark territory or to memorialize a person or event. There are distinct variations around the island in terms of the frequency of particular themes among petroglyphs, with a concentration of Birdmen at Orongo. Other subjects include sea turtles, Komari (vulvas) and Makemake, the chief god of the Tangata manu or Birdman cult.