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Birdman Culture

So which ones are the ones to see? One of the best-preserved villages is Ahu Akahanga, without moai. The most impressive platform with moai is Ahu Tongariki with 15 quite well restored statues. The best-preserved monoliths are at the Anakena beach called Ahu Nau Nau where the fallen statues were covered by sand dunes so there is almost no sign of erosion and you can admire the detailed carvings on them. The seven sons are called Ahu Akivi. If you're just walking around town you will find the Ahu Tahai, loads of tourist and the cement traces are clearly visible. Little bit further you will find Ahu Akapu with less tourist and a perfect spot for sunset.

The Orongo village wasn't a village like the other ones. It was only used during the competition, so up to few weeks a year. The houses had to be restored although they were not entirely in a bad shape. They all have very small entrances to avoid huge drafts as the village is on a cliff on the side of the Rano Kau volcano. There are no ahu nor moai as the village was connected to the birdman culture. Most of the petroglyphs on the island come from this period in history. There are some cave paintings of birds on the island however there are almost gone, not able to withstand the humidity and rock erosion.

The volcano Rano Kau is one of the creators of Rapa Nui, as its eruption caused the island to raise from the sea. It is now extinct and it serves as a fresh water reservoir for the island. People used to climb down the crater to collect water, now it would be used in an emergency. The crater itself is separated from salty waves by a thin-ish wall. If there is a massive storm or a tsunami the all water might get contaminated.

One last word on the clans. Some have suggested that the clans have been at a constant war with each other and that's why the moai have been pushed over. But the locals claim that part of their tradition is a high respect for each other. When one clan helped the other, they were obliged to repay the favour in the same manner. And to this day when organising weddings, the duty belongs to the cousins of the bride, and she repays by doing the same when they get married.

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