Fodor's Expert Review Orongo

The Western Circuit Archaeological Site/Ruins Fodor's Choice

A small museum kickstarts the story of the ceremonial village of Orongo, likely constructed in the late 1600s and used by locals until 1866; the 48 oval stone houses here were occupied only during the ceremony honoring the god Make-Make. Many of these abodes have since been reconstructed. The high point of the annual event was a competition in which prominent villagers sent servants to Motu Nui, the largest of three islets just off the coast. The first servant to find an egg of the sooty tern, a bird nesting on the islets, would swim back with the prize tucked in a special headdress. His master would become the tangata manu, or birdman, for the next year. The tangata manu was honored by being confined to a cave until the following year's ceremony. Dozens of petroglyphs depicting birdlike creatures cover nearby boulders along the rim of Rano Kau. CONAF checks, but does not sell tickets here. They are sold at the airport or at the CONAF office near the Padre Sebastián Englert Anthropological... READ MORE

A small museum kickstarts the story of the ceremonial village of Orongo, likely constructed in the late 1600s and used by locals until 1866; the 48 oval stone houses here were occupied only during the ceremony honoring the god Make-Make. Many of these abodes have since been reconstructed. The high point of the annual event was a competition in which prominent villagers sent servants to Motu Nui, the largest of three islets just off the coast. The first servant to find an egg of the sooty tern, a bird nesting on the islets, would swim back with the prize tucked in a special headdress. His master would become the tangata manu, or birdman, for the next year. The tangata manu was honored by being confined to a cave until the following year's ceremony. Dozens of petroglyphs depicting birdlike creatures cover nearby boulders along the rim of Rano Kau. CONAF checks, but does not sell tickets here. They are sold at the airport or at the CONAF office near the Padre Sebastián Englert Anthropological Museum, and are good for all archaeological sites on the island.

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Archaeological Site/Ruins Fodor's Choice Museum/Gallery

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Easter Island, Valparaíso  2770000, Chile

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