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Easter Island Rapa Nui

More moai and a beach

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13th Feb Rapa Nui and moai

We were woken once again by the cockerels, but as it was an all-day excursion we sorted out water and suncream before heading to breakfast. The day’s plan was the quarry at Ranu Raraku (with Poike volcano), Ahu Tongariki straight after, followed by lunch. The afternoon was a drive along the 'Camino de los Moais' coastline, visiting Vaihu/ Hanga Te’e, Akahanga, across to Te Pito Kura (with O Paro) and finishing at Anakena Beach (Ahus Nau Nau and Ature Huke). We cut across to the coast and drove directly to Ranu Raraku, seeing the former Vaihu tribal area. This composed of several larger ahu:
1. Huri a Urenga
Although most ceremonial platforms and their moai are found along the coast, there were 25 inland villages with ahus, especially in the agricultural regions. Ahu Huri a Urenga is one of them. The single moai, restored in 1976 by Mulloy, has 2 pairs of hands, and faces directly to sunrise on the winter solstice (June 21st). The reason for the double hands is unclear, maybe engraved twice or re-engraved from weathering or even portraying a deformity. Its platform is aligned with two neighbouring hills, Maunga Mataengo and Maunga Tararaina, and two smaller ahus nearby. It is believed it was a solar observatory marking the beginning of winter (toga), and different tapu/ prohibitions that regulated fishing and other island activities. Behind the ahu is a well defined cremation platform that was used in funeral rituals (left).
2. Hanga Hahave
This is a rarely visited, but interesting ahu with seven moai, two partially intact and five almost perfect (4 with topknots), close to Maunga Orito hill and Ahu Hanga Poukura.
3. Hanga Poukura
1217cf00-8fa8-11eb-8f4f-1543e9255612.png is a coastal ahu site with a number of tumbled moai statues and topknots.
4. Tarakiu, a destroyed ahu between Hanga Poukura and Hanga Te'e.
A large moai, almost intact, has fallen on its back (unusual as most of the others were toppled onto their face). In total six moais were demolished when the islanders fought in the tribal war. The topknots are in particularly good condition.
5. Vaihu – Ahu Hanga Te’e.
Vaihu is one of the places where Easter Island’s isolation is most strongly felt. Framed by cliffs where ocean waves strongly break and shape the landscape, Hanga Te’e Bay, 10km from Hanga Roa, is stunning. Ahu Hanga Te’e once held 8 moai, now face down in the same position they were knocked down; many have broken necks (the weakest part). Their corresponding pukaos, because of their cylindrical shape, rolled further into the bay, where they were recovered from the ocean. Generally villages and their ceremonial platforms were located next to bays for access to the sea, which constituted one of their main sources of food. This is why most of ahus on Easter Island are found around the coast, and in most cases canoe ramps were built behind to give access to sea. In front of the platform is a large circle of stones called Paina after the ceremony that took place inside. When you wanted to pay tribute to an ancestor (male or female), you made a human figure with wooden sticks and bark cloth and placed it in the centre of the circle in front of the ceremonial platform, then step into the circle and narrate the deeds that they had accomplished. Based on this ceremony, researchers suggest the Paina was intended to honour death. The celebrations, which were followed by a banquet, lasted several days, like many of the present-day Rapa Nui celebrations.

The rugged coast continued as we passed Akahanga (we returned for a proper visit later), then turned towards Ranu Raraku, which is both an extinct volcano and the main moai quarry. Approaching the cliffs, we showed our pass again, then walked around the corner for an amazing view of the moais, apparently marching down the hill.

Rano Raraku.
Located in the southeast part of island close to the coast, it’s known as “the quarry” as it was here where the moai were carved and then taken to the ahus throughout the island. The quarry is made of tuff (hardened volcanic ash, softer and easier to cut than basalt, a material used primarily as a sculpting tool). This place’s ancient name was Maunga Eo, meaning “fragrant hill”, because an aromatic plant used to permeate the entire area with its smell. The feeling of this huge archaeological site is surprising. Rano Raraku has 397 moai in various stages of development, as if the sculptors left the job abruptly and could come back at any moment. There are statues still encrusted in the rock; others are in the “staging area” waiting for the moving crew to transport them to their destined ahu.
View of the volcano quarry
The road forks in two at the site’s entrance. The path on the left leads to the volcano’s crater, and the one on the right leads to the quarry.
Shortly after taking the path on the right you start seeing half-buried moai. Once the quarry was abandoned, the land that had been dug up to form ramps to facilitate the raising of the statues ended up burying the sculptures that were unfinished or waiting to be transferred. Ironically, this was the best way to protect these stone giants, which still retain all their details and the original colour of yellow tuff, brighter on those exposed to weather. The first moai you see in Rano Raraku give an idea of the magnitude of the work done here by the Rapa Nui. Although most of the statues are half buried, we can imagine its magnificent proportions when you consider that the head is only ! of the size of the sculpture and some exceed 13 m.
Further on, following the path, are two moai that have become Easter Island’s best known image, since they appear in most guidebooks. The right one has well defined features and a smooth back so it was probably waiting to be transported. The one on the left has unfinished details and it was this one that Thor Heyerdahl in 1955 dug up to show that the sculptures were partially-buried whole moai and not just heads. At this point we were a little surprised to see a local guide dressed in the traditional costume of a feather (and nothing else), which was luckily placed over the most revealing spot! Following the route, a path that goes up and a bit to the right is a great vantage point to see the coast, Poike peninsula and Ahu Tongariki.
We followed the road up to the left, to enter the quarry itself. The statues were always carved face up with the details of the face, torso and arms; the nose served as a guide to keep centred/ proportions. Once this was completed, the sculpture was detached from the bedrock and lowered by dirt ramps to a pit where it were raised to finish the polishing and back carving process.
Here we saw the largest moai ever carved, Te Tokanga or El Gigante in the highest part of Rano Raraku, unfinished. It is 21m long, its head alone is 7m, and it weighs over 200 tons. The size of this sculpture shows the obsession the Rapa Nui had to create larger and larger moai each time, which eventually ended up exhausting their resources (wood and rope) and degenerated into a social crisis. Oral tradition states that this huge giant was destined to go to Ahu Tahira in the Vinapu area. A little further on are 2 moai lying on the rock next to each other with unfinished carvings. The front one has its details and is attached to the rock only by its back, but the back one is at an earlier stage, with an unfinished left side. If you look closely you can identify a third moai up to the right and another one to the left.
Moai Tukuturi o –The Kneeling moai
Following the way down, at the farthest point of the quarry is the most unusual moai, known as Tukuturi/ Kneeling moai. This moai is completely different from any others on the island. It’s much smaller, has well defined legs, and is kneeling with its hands resting on its knees. Its face is rounded, more human compared with the traditional square shaped heads of the other moai. From the side, it seems to have a small beard. Unearthed by Thor Heyerdahl in 1955, its discovery was a surprise; even the Rapa Nui had not heard of it. The theory is that it was one of the first sculptures made and wasn’t transported because it was damaged or was never intended to be erected on a platform. Some speculate it’s the representation of a famous master sculptor, set on the edge of the quarry to supervise the work of his successors.
On the way back, there’s a moai with a 3-mast ship with square sails (obviously European) carved into its torso. Surely the arrival of the first Europeans to Easter Island in the 18th century impressed the inhabitants who recorded it on this abandoned moai.
On the centre path of the three that run down the slope, is an interesting moai. Usually when a moai fell or broke, it was left in place because it was believed it had lost its mana. Apparently, this moai cracked in half when it was being set down, and someone then carved an entire moai on what was its head; so it looks like a little moai on the shoulders of another moai. After the quarry, take the left path at the initial fork in the road, 10 min to the crater of Rano Raraku.
This crater, 650m diameter, has at its centre a freshwater lagoon 5-7m deep. On its slopes 70 half-buried moai can be found, which shows that the demand for the production of these sculptures was so great that even the tuff from inside the volcano was used as material. Transporting the moai from this area was difficult, down to the edge of the lake and out of the crater following the same path that now serves as a visitors trail. During Tapati festival, this crater is the site of the most popular sporting event, the Rapa Nui Tau’a triathlon. Competitors first cross the lake in a reed canoe, then run 1" laps around it carrying 2 bunches of plantains, and finally cross it again swimming on a pora (reed board).

Ahu Tongariki
We had seen Ahu Tongariki from Ranu Raraku, and now drove down to visit the site itself. As we headed towards the coast where it was located, we looked back to see the imposing quarry behind (in much the same way as we’d seen Tongariki from the quarry). Located in Hanga Nui, on the southeast coast, just 2 km from Rano Raraku, Ahu Tongariki is the most majestic ceremonial ahu on the island, with fifteen gigantic sculptures, framed by a turquoise sea background and the sound of waves crashing on cliffs. Ahu Tongariki represents the maximum splendour of the island’s sculptures, with a ceremonial 220m long platform, the largest structure in Polynesia. Each statue is different, some higher, some fatter or skinnier, coarse faces or finer. These differences are probably because they’re representations of real ancestors. The largest statue with a pukao (head-dress) is 14m tall. well as noting the differences between each statue we could see some details of the carvings on them, including their long ears and ‘tattoo’ body decoration. As with the other ahu, the Rapa Nui had toppled Tongariki. An earthquake of 9.5 on the Richter scale, struck the Chilean coast in 1960, and caused a tsunami in the Pacific. Waves of 11 m hit the ahu and dragged the toppled moai 100m inland, damaging them. Restorations in 1993-6, by Chilean archaeologist C. Cristino, were based on drawings by the British ethnologist, Katherine Routledge in 1914. During the excavations seventeen moais were discovered being used as the base for the current platform, as was the usual practise. To truly see the enormous size of this platform and its moais, walk round the back. To recognise Japanese help, the moai at the entrance of Tongariki was loaned to Japan for trade shows in Osaka and Tokyo in 1982, and it became known as “the Traveller”.
A wonderful thing about Ahu Tongariki is spectacle at dawn. Between 21st Dec, Summer Solstice, and 21st Mar, Autumn Equinox, the sun rises behind the Ahu, between its giant stone sculptures, creating an unforgettable sight.
On the hillside stretching towards the platform, 7 red scoria pukaos/ headdresses can be seen can that couldn’t be placed on top of the statues due to their deterioration. In two stone circles closer to the platform, are petroglyphs (stone carvings) in the shape of turtles. In the centre of the square you can see a moai lying on his back. It was never put upright on the platform, because the eye sockets are not carved, which was done once the moai was placed on its ahu. It’s possible that this sculpture fell and broke during transportation.

Moai Statues
The moai or Easter Island statues are the most important pieces of Rapa Nui art. In spite of their abundance (c600 moai throughout the island and 397 in Rano Raraku), there are plenty of unanswered questions regarding these stone giants. Even though oral tradition states it was Hotu Matu’a (or his 7 explorers) who brought the first Moai to the island, it is probable that the villagers started sculpting after they settled. They were created by the Rapa Nui to represent their ancestors or past rulers, who after dying had the ability to extend their mana (spiritual power) as protection over the tribe. The statues were at first of basalt, trachyte and red scoria, but soon switched to volcanic rock from Rano Raraku quarry. To start the moais were small, with wide heads and short ears, but gradually the style changed to long torsos and rectangular heads with long noses, thin lips and long ears. Over time the sculptures increased to sizes nearly impossible to transport. The master carvers sculpted with basalt or obsidian chisels and a team of carvers could take 2 years to finish a big moai. First, the front was carved with all the details except the eye sockets. Less eroded moai show carved designs on them reminiscent of tattoos. Then, the back was chiselled to remove it from the main rock and stand it upright with the help of ropes, in a prepared pit. Once upright, the sculpting was completed and the Moai was ready to take down one of the 4 Moai Paths that led to the ahu (altar) it was destined for. The transport method of the Moai is still a mystery. However they were clearly transported upright and facing forward, despite this being the hardest and most accident prone position. This suggests that they felt it was important to process the statute forward to his ahu. Once a Moai was set up in its ahu, the eye sockets were sculpted and, in a ceremonial ritual, the eyes (white coral and red scoria) were inserted; from this moment the moai’s mana protected the tribe. Finally, in the later period, an enormous red scoria cylinder (pukao) was placed on top of its head; possibly it represented the tribe’s hierarchy or symbolised the long hair that the islanders wore up in a bun. The average Moai height is 4m. However, on the northern coast of the island a 10m / 82 tonne one has been found. In the quarry, still attached to the rock, is the biggest Moai, 22 m long and 250-300 tons. Though the majority of the Moai are male (because all the chiefs were men?), 12 moais have feminine traits (breasts or sculpted vulvas). One of the best preserved, sculpted in basalt, is known as Hoa Hakananai’a (from Orongo) is in the British Museum (Rapanui beliefs’ symbology on its back). When found it was decorated in red and white paint, but it's unclear if mainstream moai were similarly painted (oral traditions do not mention it).
Just a few meters from Tongariki (where there’s a curve in the road) Papa Tataku Poki can be found; an good place to appreciate petroglyphs of turtles, tuna and birdmen.
Bas relief of a turtle
As we left we had an amazing view of Poike, the last of the three volcanoes of the island. Poike volcano at the east end of the Island is the oldest
on the island and one of the 3 main volcanoes that led to its formation. According to geological studies, the volcano emerged from the sea in 2 eruptions, one about 3 million years ago and the second about 900,000 years ago. Poike is now a dormant with a simple conical formation, height
370 m. The crater 150m diameter and 10-15m deep, called Pu A Katiki, unlike the other two volcanoes’ craters, is completely dry. On the north side, it’s possible to distinguish three smaller mounds called Ma’unga Vai a Heva, Ma’unga Tea Tea and Ma’unga Parehe. After Poike, a natural ditch runs parallel to the road known as Poike ditch. There’s a legend that the Hanau E’epe tribe lived in this area and that at some point were attacked by the Hanau Momoko tribe (the dominant); who threw the E’epe in the trench and incinerated them, ending their tribe. In the vicinity of this volcano are other archaeological sites that are not easy to find.

Moai Period As in all of Polynesia, in Easter Island ancestor worship was a big part of the inhabitants’ spiritual lives. The Rapanui believed that important people’s “mana” (spiritual energy) continued existing after their death, and had the ability to influence events, a belief that became tangible in the construction of the moai statues. This is known as the Classic or Moai stage, when Rapa Nui culture reached its maximum splendour raising enormous ceremonial altars or Ahu on which these great sculptures carved from volcanic rock were placed. The moai period extended c800-c1760, when conflict between different bloodlines changed the island’s history. When a tribe’s leader or important member died, a statue was ordered to be created in the quarry of Rano Raraku, which would later be transported to the respective village, so it could project its “mana” over his descendants. Moai were always placed looking towards their village, not the sea, since their objective was to extend protection, not stop outside threats. As the Rapanui became skilled in sculpting and transporting the moai, they became bigger and more stylised, in contrast to the early ones that were short and crude; hence, the size and finesse of the moais details can be used to determine their antiquity. In fact, the biggest moai that were sculpted in this period, are still found in the quarry of Rano Raraku. It’s estimated that the biggest ones demanded the work of men 10-20 years old all year long.

Overpopulation Archaeological record shows that at the time of the initial settlement the island was home to many species of trees, including three species which grew up to 15m and possibly the largest palm trees in the world, as well as at least six species of native land birds. Paschalococos disperta (Rapa Nui palm or Easter Island palm) was the native cocoid palm species of Easter Island. It disappeared from the pollen record circa AD 1650. It is not known whether the species is distinct from Jubaea (Chilean palm), as the soft tissues used for identification have not been preserved. All that remains is pollen from lake beds, hollow endocarps (nuts) found in a cave, and casts of root bosses. The Plant List regards the name as "unresolved". Human overpopulation in the period AD 800-1600 led to extinction of the Rapa Nui Palm. The loss of the Rapa Nui Palm along with other biota contributed to the collapse of society on Easter Island. The trees may have gone extinct as they were cut down for the edible palm hearts as food supplies ran low (overpopulation) and cut down to build canoes for fishing. Another problem was the Polynesian rat, brought in by settlers, which consumed the nuts of the palm, leaving insufficient numbers to reseed the island. Despite the extinction of the tree, this palm appears to have been represented 200 years later in Rongorongo script of Easter Island with a glyph. Sophora toromiro, commonly known as Toromiro, is a species of flowering tree in the legume family, endemic to Easter Island. Heavy deforestation had eliminated most of the island's forests by the first half of the 17th century, and the once common toromiro became rare and ultimately extinct in the wild. The tree is being reintroduced to the island in a joint scientific project by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, where the only remaining plants of this species with a documented origin were propagated in the 1960s from seeds collected from a single tree by Thor Heyerdahl. It is sometimes claimed that all toromiro trees are derived from this single individual, but research has determined that at least one other tree's descendants survive. Local tradition has it that the rongorongo tablets, but when tested they turned out to be Thespesia populnea, known as miro in some Polynesian languages. Totora is a subspecies of the giant bulrush sedge found in South America, notably on Lake Titicaca, the middle coast of Peru and Easter Island. The Rapanui use totora reeds, locally known as nga'atu, for thatching and to make pora (rafts). These are used for recreation, and were formerly employed by hopu (clan champions) to reach offshore Motu Nui in the tangata manu competition. It probably arrived on the island with birds and has been growing on Easter Island for at least 30,000 years, which is well before humans arrived.

A major factor that contributed to the extinction of multiple plant species was the introduction of the Polynesian rat. By the time of European arrival in 1722, the island's population had dropped to 2,000–3,000 from a high of approximately 15,000 just a century earlier. By that time, 21 species of trees and all land birds became extinct through overharvesting/overhunting, rat predation, and climate change. The island was largely deforested, and it had no trees more than 3 m tall. Loss of large trees meant that residents were no longer able to build seaworthy vessels, significantly diminishing their fishing abilities. One theory regarding the deforestation that caused such ecological and social damage was that the trees were used as rollers to move the statues to their place of erection from the quarry at Rano Raraku. Deforestation also affected agricultural production. At first, the native tropical forests provided shade for soil. But as the native forest was destroyed, the topsoil eroded causing a sharp decline in agricultural production, further exacerbated by the loss of land birds and the collapse in seabird populations as a potential source of food. By the 18th century, residents of the island were largely sustained by farming, with domestic chickens as the primary source of protein. There is not much variety of Easter Island animals due to its extreme isolation. There is no native mammal; Maori rats (Rattus exulans) that were introduced by the first Polynesian settlers. There are only two species of reptiles: a Gecko known as moko uru-uru kau and a lizard known as moko uri uri. Native seabirds include Frigates, Boobys and Tropicbirds, while the two seagulls include Manutara. Introduced species are the sparrow, finch, Chilean Tinamou and partridge. There are many Chimango Caracaras, a bird of prey of the hawk family, which were brought in to control the rodent population but have reproduced considerably due to lack of predators.
The marine wildlife is diverse and abundant. 167 species have been catalogued. 30% are endemic to the island, one of the highest endemism levels for an oceanic island worldwide. The ura (rape rape) or lobster (pic) and the anglerfish standout. Among the fish are the Nanue, poopó, yellowtail fish, mahi-mahi and tuna or kahi, which is a fundamental element of the islanders’ diet. From time to time, Honu or Green sea turtles and Hawksbill sea turtles appear in Hanga Roa. The fishermen also tend to run into various types of sharks, but an attack has never been reported. See the Oceana video showing some of the species that live in the waters surrounding Easter Island.
http://imaginaisladepascua.com/en/easter- islands/easter-island-animals/. Among the domestic animals that were introduced to the island by
missionaries in the 19th century are sheep and goats. Notably, the horse population is enormous (approx 6,000) and even outnumbers people. The horses roam free around the island.

Tribal Wars As times became scarce tribal wars broke out over the diminishing resources, staring c1720 and lasting until c1830. When the first Europeans sighted the island in 1722 they noted standing statues only, but by Cook’s visit in 1774 he noticed that quite a number of statues had been deliberately knocked over (theories are that a rival tribe would knock down the ancestors guarding the village). By 1838 the only standing moai were Hoa Hakananai'a (Orongo), and Ariki Paro (Ahu Te Pito Kura). At this time, the Tangata Manu or Birdman cult started gaining strength. This cult resulted in what is now known as the Birdman Competition, as a way to determine who would be the Ariki who ruled the tribes for that year. He who collected the first manutara (Easter Island seagull) egg from Motu Nui would have the right to rule. The Birdman Competition was held every year until the arrival of the Catholic missionaries in 1864.

Tangata Manu
The Tangata Manu or Birdman ceremony probably started in the 18th century in honour of the Make Make god (?the Maui of Polynesian legend) and lasted until the arrival of Catholic missionaries in 1866. The main event was the Birdman Competition, held in spring (Sept) each year. The whole island awaited the arrival of the Manutara or Easter Island seagull, which nested in the motus (islets) near Rano Kau volcano, especially Motu Nui. Once it arrived, tribal representatives walked from Mataveri to Orongo, raised as a ceremonial city for this event, and representatives settled in their homes, for as long as the ceremony lasted, around a month. The chief of each tribe chose a hopu manu to represent them in the competition. On a signal, the contenders would come down Rano Kau (using the gap in the volcano sea wall as the least distance to the sea, but also the most prone to landslides) and swim 2 km to Motu Nui on a ‘pora’ or board of reeds with supplies. Once at Motu Nui, they settled into small caves waiting for the first manutara to lay an egg. The first one to capture the egg would signal the crowd who waited at Orongo, indicating to his chief that he was the winner. The race ended with this signal, though the winner still had to place the egg in a band around his head and make his way back to present it to the chief, intact. Days later, the egg was emptied and hung in the new Tangata Manu or Birdman’s house. The winning tribe’s chief would shave his head and paint it red, preparing for his new role as the Birdman. Once done he processed to Mataveri to move into the house especially assigned to him in Rano Raraku (if his tribe belonged to the East Confederation), or in Anakena (if it belonged to the West). During the first 6 months, he lived alone, with only a servant/ ivi-ahui. The winning tribe gain greater access and control over resources.

Vai a Heva is noteworthy. It’s a huge head carved on top of a natural pool used to collect rainwater. Papa ui Hetu has an nice set of petroglyphs, and it’s where the natives gathered to watch the stars. Ana o Keke (cave of the virgins) was used to prison young women in order to whiten their skin.

Then it was back along the coast again, a rugged affair with huge breakers, a few bays and almost no vegetation. It really helped us understand how the island had been deforested, and the resultant lack of agriculture, followed by population problems and wars. This was the Oroi or Akahanga tribal area.
En route we saw several ahu, notably Runga Va’e (right next to the ocean, remains of a moai) and Oroi (a ruined ahu/ moai named after Hotu Matu'a's rival who arrived at Rapa Nui with him), before stopping at Akahanga, interesting as the village is well preserved and the first king is supposedly buried here.

Ahu Akahanga is a 18m ceremonial platform on the south coast. The Akahanga ahu had about a dozen moai of different sizes, from 5-7 m. It’s known as “the king’s platform”, because it’s said that the first king of the island, the Ariki Hotu Matu’a, is buried here. Legend says the king left his home in Anakena after a fight with his wife, Vaka A Heva, and lived in Akahanga, where his sons buried him. So far, excavations have failed to find anything that may have been a tomb, although little is known about the funerary practices of the ancient Rapa Nui. Due to the statues size/design, it’s been determined that the main platform on Akahanga was widened over time, left to right, so the moai on the right are larger/newer than the first 5 on the left.
As in other ahus, the moai were toppled by their creators. The theory is that they were toppled face down so the eyes were buried in the earth. However, in Ahu Akahanga’s case, there was a domino effect, so the larger moais on the right fell backward, giving an incomparable view from behind the platform. In Akahanga, you can see the remains of several hare paenga, or “houseboats”, with their characteristic shape created by the stones used as a foundation. To the right of the square is a small cave, whose entrance was enlarged for habitation.
On the path connecting the houseboats with the cave, are several ovens arranged in a row, forming the village cooking area. These ovens/ umu, were formed by slabs shaped into a rectangle or pentagon within which the fire was lit. When the volcanic rocks were almost red hot, the food was placed on top, wrapped in plantain or taro leaves to prevent it from burning, and covered with soil. The food was placed in different layers, depending on the degree of cooking required (meat below veg) and after several hours the food was ready. This method of cooking is common in Polynesia, from the hangi in New Zealand, to the Hawaiian imu. There were also excellent examples of the small walled circles constructed to create microclimates and retain moisture for crop growing. Until recently, the island’s road divided this archaeological site into two parts; but thanks to recent improvements in Rapanui National Park it has been moved behind the square.
Entering from the new road to the right, before reaching the main platform, a small incomplete ahu can be seen with its moai off to the side. Because of the position in which it’s placed, it has been sheltered from inclement weather and therefore has well-defined facial features, and not yet hollowed out eye sockets. It is believed that the moai was moved here from the quarry but was never placed on the ahu, because its construction was never completed. If you walk along the back of the main platform facing the sea, you will see a small moai 2 m tall, quite eroded, with a rather crude carving, belonging to a very early sculptural era. It was moved here with the intention of shipping it off the island in the early 10th c, fortunately not done. Behind the platform, there are also several crematoriums and a canoe platform.
We left Akahanga, driving past the ruined Uru Uranga Te Mahina (below) to arrive at our lunch stop. Uru Uranga originally held 5 ahu, of which only Ahu 5 contains moais (3 of them), as the others (on Ahu 1-4) were used to construct the base of Ahu 5. A lovely meal, outdoors, of chicken (of course), salad, fruit and flatbread at Cabanas Rapa nui Orito.

After lunch and a rest we set off for the second part of the tour. Travelling again along the coast, in what is known as the Caminos de los Moais (Road of Moias) due to their number, we noticed a lot of hawk like birds. These were Chimango Caracara, introduced from Chile to deal with the mainland rat problem (Easter Islanders had already killed all the native birds of prey). The inevitable happened; the mainland rats are strong and fierce, while the native rats are smaller and timid. Guess which one the hawks like!
Our drive took us further along the coast to the Hatu Hai (Hotuiti) area, where we saw more sites:
1. Ahu Hanga Tetenga, just after Akahanga, a wild rocky site with tumbled moai, scattered rocks.
2. Tu’u Tahi a small moai site, possibly named after a person called Tuu Tahi.
3. One Makihi, close to the ocean with interesting stone walls
4. Hanga Taharoa (Taharoa Bay), probable 1772 landing site of the first European, Dutchman Roggeveen.
5. Hekii, La Perousse Bay, is largest moai raised on a platform- 32 ft tall, 90 tonnes, topknot weighs 11.5 tons.
6. Tau a Ure a small ahu site with a village behind

We stopped soon after at Te Pito Kura, a fascinating site.
Following the road on the north coast, facing a fishing cove in La Perouse Bay, is Te Pito Kura. We parked by the hut, showed our tickets again, and walked towards the sea. In front was a gigantic fallen moai. The platform, Ahu O Paro, is intact and its moai lie in the position they were knocked down in by the Rapa Nui. The tall moai is the largest sculpture ever transported from Rano Raraku quarry and placed on an ahu. This moai’s name is Paro, and it’s one of the few names preserved over time. This giant is 10 m tall, with ears 2 m long, and a weight of 70 tons. To one side lies its equally gigantic headdress 2 feet tall and 10 tons. This was the last moai seen standing by a foreign visitor, French explorer Abel Du Petit-Thouars in 1838. After that date no European traveller mentions seeing upright moai. From the vantage point of the ahu we could see parts of the original village, as well as several other ahus. We walked left past the ahu and down towards the sound of the ocean. About 40m on was a large completely polished oval rock surrounded by a stone wall and four stone ‘chairs’. Legend has it that Ariki Hotu Matua’a, first king of the island, came to Easter Island carrying this huge smooth stone, which was bearing mana (spiritual power granted by the gods). Because of its high iron content this stone heats up quickly and makes compasses behave strangely. Te Pito Kura means “navel of light” (?due to the qualities of the rock) and Easter Island is also known as, Te Pito Henua or “the world’s navel”.

The arrival of the first Europeans
Almost everything we know about Rapanui culture comes from accounts by European visitors to Easter Island. The first was Dutch explorer, Jacob Roggeveen, who arrived on Easter Island from the Juan Fernández Archipelago, while searching for Terra Australis, the legendary southern hemisphere continent. Roggeveen sighted the island, which didn’t appear in his maps, on Sunday, April 5th 1722, and as that day was Easter, he named it Easter Island. He only stayed one day due to strong winds and the lack of provisions, then left for Tahiti. Almost 50 years passed before another European came, this time a Spanish expedition led by Felipe Gonzalez de Haedo from Peru in 1770, claiming the territory for Spain. The islanders didn’t put up resistance and some chiefs even “signed” a contract to formalise Spanish rule. The island was given the new name of San Carlos in honour of King Carlos III and after 6 days, they left. Their report mentioned a shoreline of standing statues. Four years later, 1774, British explorer James Cook, arrived on Anakena beach in the “Resolution”, with the hope of finding food and water, but they found a virtually deserted island. Cook was familiar with the people of Tonga, New Zealand, and Society Islands, and concluded that the Rapanui were the same ethnic group. Cook stated that although some moai were still upright, many had fallen over and the ahu were broken. The last year in which a visitor reported having seen an upright moai was 1838. There are two theories for why the islanders deliberately knocked them over. The first holds that the lack of food caused wars between the clans and the moai were knocked down to deprive the enemies from the “mana” or the protection they offered. The second holds that the reason for knocking them down was than they lost faith in them. Despite all the effort put into their construction, the gods didn’t compensate them with the resources they needed so badly.

The sea here was rough, sending up huge blasts of spray, but also the most amazing colours, swirling from aquamarine to turquoise.

Pu o Hiro is in the northern part of the coastal road. It is a rock 1.25 m tall whose name means “Hiro’s trumpet “, the ancient god of rain. It’s a wind instrument made of stone, which is considered an ancient musical instrument of the Rapa Nui culture. It has one main orifice, which you blow into producing a deep trumpet-like sound. There are several petroglyphs in the rock in the shape of a vulva (the symbol of fertility), so it is believed that Pu o Hiro was used in fertility-related rituals, or to attract the Rain God. Another belief states that the sound of this instrument was used to attract fish to the shore.
Papa Vaka near Ahu Te Pito Kura has numerous petroglyphs with motifs related to the sea and fishing. The word papa means “stone” in Rapa Nui and vaka means “canoe”; so the site’s name refers to the largest petroglyph ever found on Easter Island, a 12-m long canoe (vaka) that is relatively easy to distinguish. Other figures inc: a tuna, a shark, an octopus, turtles and several hooks (mangai). Some rocks are named for their pictures, such as Papa Mango (shark), which has a tuna (kahi) and shark or Papa Mangai (fish hook) with a squid (heke), crab (pikea) and hooks.

It was getting very hot now and we were looking forward to our beach visit. Passing Ovahe beach, we passed the archaeologically interesting site of Vai Tara Kai Ua (the moai is of less interest, but the altar was found with human remains scattered around it, so maybe it is a tupa or tomb), and drove up a drive to arrive at Anakena Beach.

Anakena is the only big tropical sand beach of Rapa Nui. Decorated with palm trees and a few small bars on the beach serving BBQ, empanadas, fruit juice and alcoholic drinks. Anakena is also known as Ha!a rau o te 'ariki - The bay of the king, after the first Rapa Nui king Hotu Matu'a disembarked here a thousand years ago and built his first house. Anakena remained the sacred land of the royal family. Anakena has two ahu. One is Ahu Nau-Nau with 7 moai statues, 2 broken. The other one is Ahu Ature Huke with only 1 moai statue. The moai of Ahu Ature Huke was the first moai statue to be restored (by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl 1956).
Panoramic view of Ahu Nau Nau and Ahu Ature Huke at Anakena beach
Ahu Nau Nau is one of the most important ahus on Easter Island as it is located on the beautiful beach of Anakena, the place where King Hotu Matu’a first landed. The ahu was restored in 1978 by Sergio Rapu, the island’s first archaeologist. It was here that the white coral and red scoria eye was found. When the Rapa Nui toppled the moai during their resource crisis and tribal wars, the Ahu Nau Nau moai fell on the white sands of Anakena and were gradually covered. This protected them from erosion, so now you can appreciate the details in the fine carving of the eyes, nose, ears, and hands of these stone giants. Though they are not the largest sculptures raised on the island, they are possibly the most refined. The backs of the statues are sculpturally impressive. You can appreciate the knotted loincloths and, underneath, the circular designs believed to be tattoos on the buttocks; even the line of the spine. This level of detail is only found in Ahu Nau Nau and in half buried statues in Rano Raraku quarry. On the back of the stone wall that forms the ahu base, are petroglyphs depicting birds and other animals, like lizards or monkeys. There is even a moai head forming part of the ahu’s structure, a common practice in ancient times, when both the original ahu and the moai that stood above it were used as the base in the building of a new ahu. Ahu Nau Nau is an archaeological site with restored moai statues at Anakena Beach. This ahu was partly buried in the sand and the statues fallen. Cracks and erosion signs are visible on the rocks. In 1980 archaeologist Sergio Rapu Haoa conducted excavation and restoration work at the site and today we can admire it in its original form. Seven statues are here: four larger moai with topknots (pukao), two medium size ones and a seventh, the remains of a body. Unfortunately one of the medium statues has no head and the last one less than half a body. Interestingly the pukao are very well fitted on the moai heads. Archaeologists have found an almost complete coral eye. The iris was made of a separate red volcanic scoria stone, which was inlaid in a circular cavity inside the coral eye. Nau Nau is worth visiting, as one of the most beautiful places on the island. Petroglyphs are also found here. They represent animals and a legendary lizard man, which the islanders believed to have come from another world.
Ahu Ature Huke is a single moai close to Ahu Nau Nau. Thor Heyerdahl has taken part in the re-erection of this moai. The hard work lasted for 9 days, but he managed to prove that with the usage of wood, these massive stones could be moved and put into place by the islanders many centuries ago. This ahu comprises of a single statue placed on top of a platform. It overlooks the beautiful Anakena Beach.
We headed straight through the palms to the white sands and blue ocean. The beach shelved very gradually, so it was quite a way out to swim. Because of the sand there was little visibility and it was quite hard to spot the fish, but a local lad pointed out some enormous fish to me (whilst swimming!) After a while it felt very hot and we retreated to a bar for a cool cocktail. We had enough time to enjoy it before finding our bus to return to Hanga Roa, past Vaihu (left), Papa Tekena and A Tanga (poor quality ruined ahus). For our evening meal we went to the famous La Taverne du Pêcheur, obviously choosing from their fish menu and watching the sun set from the balcony over Kaleta Bay.

Nga'ara (c. 1835 -59), reigned from the death of his father, King Kai Mako‘i c. 1835) was the last great ‘ariki, or paramount chief, and the last master of rongorongo. Before becoming king, Nga‘ara ran a hare rongorongo (rongorongo school) at ‘Anakena Bay. Generally fathers would teach their sons and any other boys who were interested, and Nga‘ara was the most famous teacher on the island. Boys would study three to five months to learn rongorongo. At the time he became ‘ariki, the real power on the island lay in the Birdman priests of ‘Orongo. One of the sacred responsibilities of the tuhunga t" (scribes and reciters of rongorongo) seems to have been the recitation of rongorongo tablets at ‘Orongo during the annual Birdman ceremonies. Rongorongo was considered to contain mana (sacred power). For example, chanting a timo (vengeance) tablet could release supernatural powers to kill. A woman would carry a pure (fertility) tablet that the scribes chanted to increase her fertility. Tablets were used to increase crops or a catch of fish. Katherine Routledge was told that one of Nga‘ara's tablets, called Kouhau ‘o te Ranga and thought to be Rongorongo text C, was one of a kind and had the power to "give conquest in war" and enslave the conquered. In order to take control of the island from the Birdman priests Nga‘ara established an annual rongorongo festival at ‘Anakena. Rather than using the tablets for specific ends, it was a festival for the tablets themselves, and it became the most important assembly in pre-missionary times. Since the mana of the tablets went through him at this festival, Nga‘ara was able to assert spiritual primacy over the island. When Nga‘ara died, his son Kai Mako‘i ‘Iti took over the festival at ‘Anakena for three years, until captured in the great Peruvian slaving raid of 1862. Although the slaves were freed in 1863, Kai Mako‘i did not survive to return. A British anthropologist Katherine Routledge in 1914 interviewed 2 old female Râpa Nui (over 100, so born c 1814). The last European report of moais in 1838 suggests only Tongariko was still erect. The next report 1870 says no moais were standing. Therefore Tongariko’s moais were felled between 1830 and 1870. One of the ladies says she was present at their felling when she was in her early 20s and both remembered the warfare of the 1800s. Katherine collected oral histories, especially related to the Birdman cult.

Kai Mako'i 'Iti (Small Kaimakoi) (d1863), son of Nga'ara, devastation of island by Peruvian slavers in the great Peruvian slaving raid of 1862, died as a slave in the Peruvian slave raid. In 1862/3 the island was subject to numerous Peruvian slave raids, and many chiefs and religious leaders were kidnapped and sold as slaves in Peru (over 1000 Rapanui were take as slaves to work in guano collection). As the royal and priestly class were taken, the secret of rongorongo was lost (as it was a royal prerogative to read it). Later the international community forced the Peruvians to return 15 islanders, but they were infected with smallpox and tuberculosis, which spread across the island decimating its population. This was allegedly the fate of the son of Nga‘ara II, called Kai Mako‘i ‘Iti, who was Easter Island's ariki mau or paramount chief at the time, and of his son Maurata d.1862. In 1872 the total population was 111 individuals, and the paramount chiefs and their priests had all perished. The arrival of the missionaries to Easter Island in mid-1860 also caused damage to Rapanui culture. In their zeal to convert the islanders to Christianity they ended ancient beliefs and rituals, such as the Birdman competition, although they saved some tales and objects.

Gregorio/ Kerekorio Manu Rangi, Rokoroko He Tau, last ariki mau (paramount king), d.1867 of TB. After this a Council of State was established by French adventurer and sheep rancher Jean- Baptiste Dutrou-Bornier who expelled the Catholic missionaries, married a rapanui girl and installed her as "Queen" and unsuccessfully petitioned France for protectorate status. Dutrou- Bornier was assassinated in 1876 and the Roman Catholic
mission returned. His business interest was inherited by the Anglo-Jewish-Tahitian Prince Alexander Ariipaea Salmon who managed a sheep ranch, which constituted much of the land on the island. Salmon ruled in all but name, but encouraged the rapanui to produce artworks to export to support themselves. He appears to have been a good, though foreign, ruler.

Atamu Tekena (Atamu Maurata Te Kena "Ao Tahi), signs Treaty of Annexation, d 1892, the penultimate ‘Ariki or King of Rapa Nui 1883-92. He was not a royal of the traditional line, although he was an extended member of the royal Miru clan, and was appointed by the French Picpus missionaries. In 1888, he signed a treaty of annexation ceding Easter Island to Chile. The population was only 110. His wife Ana Eva is known as Queen Eva. He adopted the additional name Maurata after the ariki mau who died during the Peruvian slave raids. Unlike his predecessors, Atamu held little political power. For many years, Easter Island was considered distant and worthless, but when Great Britain started to show interest in claiming it (in response to France), Chile took the final step towards the annexation. In 1887, Captain Policarpo Toro was sent by Chile to purchase Salmon's sheep ranch and annex the island from the Catholic mission authority in Tahiti. Toro landed in 1888 and Atamu and 11 chiefs ‘signed’ a treaty (Deed of Assignment) of annexation ceding the island to Chile. There is some ambiguity of language in the bilingual versions. The Rapa Nui language version only made Chile the island's protector while the Spanish language version ceded the island's sovereignty in perpetuity. Despite the fact missionaries had been educating the islanders for more than 20 years, none of the chiefs signed their names to the document and it was also never ratified by Chile. During the first years of Chile’s sovereignty, the island was forgotten and the islanders confined to it since Chile did not recognise their full citizenship until 1966. Captain Toro set up a colony with his brother Pedro Pablo Toro. The Rapa Nui believed they had become a protectorate with retained independence. The Chilean colony co-existed with the native government and Atamu. When Atamu died the Rapa Nui elected Simeon Riro K!inga as king. Easter Island Kingdom flag Simeon Riro K!inga, assassinated in Chile in 1899. On Atamu’s death, the islanders decided to choose by the next king by popular election between the Hereveri, Ika and Riroroko families, as all of whom could trace descent from the last line of paramount chiefs. Simeon won the election and was appointed king in 1890. The situation of the islanders deteriorated in the following years, as the island was rented out to a private company. The new exploiters converted the entire island into a sheep and cattle ranch, and enclosed the population by force into a small area in front of the bay of Hangaroa, surrounded by a high stone wall. They were forbidden to leave it, plant or fish, and their cattle and ancestral lands were stolen. King Simeon Riro Kainga decided then to travel to mainland Chile to present a complaint to the government. At the time the only means to travel to mainland Chile was on board the Company ships that visited the island regularly, and upon arriving to Valparaiso the owner of the company who rented the island poisoned King Riro Kainga and he died in Valparaiso.
Enrique Ika a Tu!u Hati (1900/1), The islanders were forbidden to appoint the heir as king, so his rule was not recognised.
Moisés Tu!u Hereveri (1901/2), not recognised.
Vacant In 1903 the Rapanui were stripped of their land, which was “rented out” for 25 years to a Scottish-Chilean company, Williamson, Balfour & Co., sheep farmers. The company created the “The Easter Island Exploitation Company”, with 70,000 sheep roaming freely on the island, while the islanders were confined to Hanga Roa to keep them from stealing the animals. The company’s control over the island extended to 1936, although it wasn’t until 1953 that the wool trade completely ended on the island and the Chilean Navy took control. The Navy prohibited the use of the Rapa Nui language and didn’t improve the living conditions of the island, generating a growing sense of identity and emerging independence initiatives. After many battles, the people of Rapa Nui were governed by a mayor of their own choosing, and granted tax exemptions as well as the recognition that only Rapa Nui people could own land.
Valentino Rirokoro Tuki (from 1953, crowned July 2011) is the grandson of King Simeon. During the presidency of Michele Bachelet, the remains of King Simeon were returned to Easter Island and a monument erected to his memory in the plaza in front of the Governor's Office. In 1956, Valentino, his 3 brothers and a relative, escaped the island in a small open row boat with an added sail, measuring only 6m long, to force the Chilean authorities to grant them freedom to leave the island at will. This was not the first boat to escape, and in several earlier attempts 17 islanders lost their lives at sea. After 56 days Valentino’s boat made it to Atiu (Cook Islands), a 3,000-mile open-sea voyage. After the publicity this engendered, Chilean authorities allowed the islanders to travel off the island at will. In 2011, Valentino was appointed king and although he has no real power, he is respected by the islanders, and a large number of them are petitioning the government to obtain more autonomy.

Posted by PetersF 12:06 Archived in Chile Tagged island chile easter moai rapa nui tongariki raraku Comments (0)

Easter Island on Valentines Day

Around Hanga Roa

View Patagonia on PetersF's travel map.

14th Feb- Valentine’s Day

Today was our own day, so we decided to explore Hanga Roa itself. Walking to the crossroads, we turned on to Atama Tekenu road. We’d thought to hire a quad bike, but needed a driving license, which we hadn’t bought, so instead we browsed the shops, buying a couple of mugs and some earrings. We managed, with a bit of work, to find the entrance to the Kari-kari ballet and got two front row tickets for the evening show. Then it was back to the crossroads and on up the road. We soon arrived at the interesting Church of the Holy Cross. As it was being cleaned we went opposite to the Artisans market. Interesting stuff, but pricey, so it was back to the church which was now open. The Church of the Holy Cross, which offers an interesting display of religious syncretism. The mix of Rapa Nui and Catholic symbolism can be seen from the front of the building where Catholic motifs, Rongo Rongo inscriptions and birdmen share spaces. Once inside, the altar and the carvings of saints deserve special attention, a Virgin crowned by a manutara, a Christ with a rei miro (crescent-shaped ornament worn by leaders on their chests and on the Rapa Nui flag), a baptismal font bordered by RongoRongo and even the creator god Make-Make on a wood carving. Mass is attended by most of the islanders. While the liturgy is in Spanish, songs with Polynesian rhythms are in Rapanui language. In the gardens to the side of the church are the graves of Father Sebastian Englert, Eugene Eyraud (the first missionary to reach the island in 1864) and Maria Angata, a local prophetess who led a brief uprising against turning the island into a sheep farming in 1915.
Hanga Roa accounts for 95% of the island’s population. It is a small town, which has grown in a somewhat disorganised manner, but the possibility of getting lost is nonexistent. The concentration of Rapa Nui people in one place is relatively recent, beginning with the arrival of Westerners, primarily Catholic missionaries. Previously the more numerous population occupied the entire surface of the island, hence the distribution of its ahu (ceremonial altars) along the coast and in some inland areas. Hanga Roa means wide bay, referring to the large bay on which the city sits. At one point it was known as Bay Cook, after James Cook stayed here in 1774. Hanga Roa is the only part of the island that has electricity, water and services; hospital, 2 banks, fire station, pharmacy, post office, shops, restaurants, small grocery, craft and souvenir shops mostly located on the main street, Atamu Tekena, or the street running perpendicular to it between the beach and the church, Te Pito O Te Henua. Mataveri airport, the police station across the runway and the LAN offices (the only airline with scheduled flights to Easter Island) are at the beginning of the main street. There are two ports in Hanga Roa for small boats. “Caleta” or Cove is where most fishing boats dock. It’s very close to Pea beach.

An interesting church and fun to watch the quiet subversion of Christian beliefs to another world view! Anyhow, after this it was lunchtime, so we found a nearby street cafe (complete with curious toddler) for tuna empanadas (the tuna is cooked direct from the ocean on hot stones). Then it was back down to the Post Office opposite our hotel to get the official Easter Island passport stamp (free). It was still hot and an ice cream seemed in order, so back at Caleta Bay we ordered some from the famous gelateria Mikafé. Next door we spotted the Orca Diving Centre and it seemed like a great idea, so we booked a snorkelling session for 4pm.
This gave up plenty of time for a walk along the north coast of the island, which is frequently ignored, even though it has some interesting sites. As we walked we passed Hanga Vare Vare, a wide open space, where the Tapati Rapa Nui festival is celebrated and decorated with stone statues and carvings made during previous Tapatis. Palm trees have been planted around a natural pool so you can enjoy a swim in an area of the coast where doing so is difficult. Further on was the cemetery, another place to see Easter Island’s religious syncretism. This is the 3rd Christian cemetery on the island, the first was in Vaihu, and the second is by the current school gym. The current cemetery is near Tahai, and is over 100 years old. Some stones are beautifully sculpted and combine Christian and Rapa Nui motifs. The great cross of red scoria in the centre of the cemetery is carved from an ancient pukao (moai headdress). It was a bit of a walk beyond to the Tahai site, which is three ahu, Ahu Vai Uri, Ahu Tahai and Ahu Ko Te Riki.

Tahai ancient village is a site with several ahus and moai statues close to Hanga Roa. Tahai has three ahus; Ahu Vai 'Uri (5 moais), Ahu Tahai (1 moai) and Ahu Ko Te Riku (1 moai). The moai of Ahu Ko Te Riku is the only moai with eyes restored, though of cement rather than coral. Photos of the statues at Tahai turn out best before noon, when the faces of the moais are sun-lit. In the afternoon, they become backlit and it's harder to take good photos. As the sun sets behind the statues as it is popular for sunset photos, but for photos of moon set behind the statues, you will probably be alone. The full moon sets in the same spot as the sun, often in the morning.
This site was restored 1968 and recreates the original layout of the Rapanui villages. Mulloy’s ashes rest under a small carved stone under the hare paenga, at the southern end of the complex. Three ahu or ceremonial platforms found here are, from left to right, Ahu Vai Uri, 5 moais, Ahu Tahai, 1 eroded moai; and Ahu Ko Te Riku, 1 moai with eyes (a replica based on the eye found in Anakena in 1978) and a pukao (a red scoria headdress), displaying the moais in their maximum splendour.
Down the slope from the car park, the rock structure on the left is a hare moa, or chicken coop, where the Rapa Nui used to keep the hens during the tribal wars or in times of scarcity. The small hole in the front was the entrance, which was covered with a single rock when the chickens were inside at night. The purpose of the hare moa was deciphered thanks to the remains of feathers and eggshells.
Remains of hare paenga
At the southern end of the square (towards Hanga Roa), is a hare paenga/ “houseboat” due to the characteristic elliptical structure that these houses had, similar to canoes. These were made using stones to form the base, to which long branches and firm wood were attached for structure, topped with reeds, leaves and grass. Houses were arranged in a semicircle around the central square and used only by the highest ranking people in each village. The lower-ranking people lived in simple structures without stone bases, or in the caves located. Descending towards Ahu Vai Uri a moai can be seen lying face down. This was the sixth moai platform, but it was impossible to restore it, so it was left where it was. Further on is a rustically carved stone head found in the sea behind the platform. It is thought to be one of the oldest and, according to dates, this part of the island was the first one to be populated.
Ramp for canoes
Between Ahu Vai Uri and Ahu Tahai a ramp for canoes can be seen, built out of stone. This was very common because the island has only two sandy beaches, so ramps were needed to transport canoes to and from the sea. Tahai is one of the best places on the island to enjoy the sunset, because the sun sets right behind the five moais, creating an idyllic image. It can be reached by car on the road that leads to the museum and then turning left onto a dirt road leading to the parking lot. Walking, it’s just 15 minutes from the centre of Hanga Roa. Going north along the coast, it’s just past the cemetery. The best time to take photos is in the evening, when it sets right behind them. Finally we managed to reach Hanga Kioe (walkable from Hanga Roa) Hanga Kioe means Mouse Bay from a legend which tells of a widow that walked in the bay with a mouse in her mouth, a sign of mourning for the death of her husband, whose remains she buried here after the ahu was built. This ahu is located north of Hanga Roa approx 1.5 km from Ahu Tahai along the coast. Based on the restored moai’s design and size (4 m), this platform is considered to belong to a late ahu construction period, c1600 AD, like the 7 Ahu Akivi moai. You can also find a hare moa (chicken coop) in this archaeological site as well as the remains of several houseboats built on what was once a village. Unlike many other sites, Hanga Kio’e is rarely visited by tourists, and it was very empty.

It was time to head back for our snorkelling. We grabbed our own snorkels, then got a wetsuit and flippers from the office, before getting into the boat. As we went along the guide pointed out interesting things along the coast, such as the Virgin’s Cave and the bite in Ranu Kau where the Birdmen dived off. We spent a while by Ana Kai Tangata cave, the most important on the island.
It turned out to be too rough to dive in the normal site at Motu Nui and Moto Iti, and instead went at the smaller Moto Kao Kao. Steve managed to lose his headcam twice, the second time very deep, but luckily the guide was a free diver and managed to 20m or so to get it (it was still running so we have some nice fish pics!). We saw some interesting fish, as well as the coral.
The most common fish was the Easter Island Butterflyfish, which is found only here in Easter Island.
We saw quite a number, with the orange Glasseye Snapper in attendance. Some small yellow leaf-like fish were drifting about too. These were Easter Island Dwarf angelfish (aka HotuMatua Angelfish) generally solitary and again only found here. Of course the inevitable wrasse were around as well as Goatfish. The coral reef supported vast numbers of Black Sea urchins, and I spotted an unusual near-transparent fish, the Cornetfish. Just as we were about to leave, we both spotted a large sea turtle. It was a good snorkel and mostly just our boat, until towards the end a bucketload of people turned up and all the fish and the turtle scarpered. Luckily we’d mostly finished so we headed back, giving us time to get ready for the evening.
The Râpa Nui ballet at Kari-Kari Ballet welcomed us and it turned out we had front row seats in what was nearly, though now quite, a barn. Steve got the drinks in and it wasn’t long before the music started. A great show, with some amazing dancers. They gave an excellent range of fertility dances, war dances (very very similar to the haka, even with the tongues), and everyday dances. We were called up to do our own dance, nice. The show ended quite late, but we were peckish, so we walked back to the ocean to get a late meal at Te Moana.

15th Feb
We only had half a day, so we decided to try our luck going left from the cove. Arriving at Pea Beach, we continued beyond towards the small fishing port of Hanga Piko bay. It’s also only very few meters deep, so cargo vessels/ cruise ships can’t dock. In order to unload everything that comes to the island from the mainland (most things), flat-bottomed boats are used. The ahu/moai on the port is Ahu Riata. It is common to see men and women in Polynesian canoes training here. The island is very competitive in this sport, even globally.
We got as far as the Ana Kai Tangata cave (seen on our snorkelling trip), before we had to turn back. Ana Kai Tangata is a cave of volcanic origin in which the sea has eroded lava from the cliff creating a cavity 10 m wide, 5 m high and 15 m deep. Its opening overlooks the sea, but is above the high tide. The name of this cave has led to speculation. In Rapanui Ana means “cave” and Tangata means “man”. The problem lies in Kai, generally translated “to eat”, hence a literal translation “the cave where men are eaten”, so it became known as “the cave of the cannibals“. The oral tradition reflects ancient episodes of cannibalism on the island by the champion clan in the competition of the Tangata Manu. This group that resided in Mataveri, celebrated the victory with feasts and banquets that, sometimes, included human victims. Some of these cruel feasts took place in the cave, where they led the unfortunate rivals. Despite these legends, no physical evidence has been found in the excavations. Other variations could be “the cave where men eat” or “the cave that eats men” since the great opening of the cavern simulates a huge dark mouth that swallows the people who enter it. Alternatively, Kai can mean “gather/ tell” so the cave could be a meeting place or classroom. A final hypothesis, based on the remains, argues it was a small boatyard, where “vaka ama” were built, small canoes made with boards sewn together, typical of the time when wood was scarce in the island. Ana Kai Tangata stands out as one of the best places to admire the ancient rock art of Easter Island. In the inner vault, are beautiful cave paintings in red, white and black, which for the most part represent the Manutara or seagull (Sterna fuscata). This migratory bird, which nested on the motu or islets in front of Orongo each spring, was considered sacred and was the main icon of the cult of Tangata Manu or bird-man. The Mataveri sector, where Ana Kai Tangata is located, is closely related to the Orongo Ceremonial Village. During the month of July, the groups that participated in the competition of the Tangata Manu settled down here. Later, they ascended in procession along the slope of Rano Kau volcano to Orongo, where the competition was held. This section was called Te Ara or Te Ao or “The Way of the Command”, in reference to the ritual object that symbolised power. In September, when the first egg was captured, the title of bird-man was awarded to the winner, and the chosen one descended with the Ao (sceptre) in his hand, showing his victory and acquired power. This ancient rite based on the collection the first egg of the manutara, seems to have inspired the motifs found in the cave. The differences in the designs of the paintings indicate that they were made by different authors over time. The artists used vegetable essences and mineral pigments collected from the Vinapu area, mixed with shark fat. Inside the cave you can see a “taheta” or container dug in the rock where they could have prepared and mixed the colours. At present, a dozen birds can be distinguished painted red and outlined in white, accompanied by other figures that could represent boats. Some take the form of the classic Polynesian canoes or pora and others show European ships with masts. It is surprising the great number of boats painted in Ana Kai Tangata, only surpassed by the ones found inside the houses of Orongo. This joint representation of boats and birds found both in the cave and in the ritual village, confirms a strong connection between both places. Researchers suggest that during a certain period of history, islanders considered the European visitors as messengers from beyond, arriving and disappearing like as the migratory birds. This curious relationship may have been reinforced by the fact that a large number of the visits of the ships to Easter Island coincided with the southern spring and autumn, when the ceremony of the bird-man took place. Until the 1930’s, the state of the paintings was quite good. However, due to water leaks from the upper layers and to the harmful effect of sea salt, the pigments have been losing their intensity.
We watched the birds bathing in rock pools before we turned back, hoping to have an ice cream at Bar Pea. It was shut, but we suddenly spotted the sea turtles; a whole group of 4. Pea Beach is a tiny beach. Pea, together with the natural pools of Hanga Vare Vare, is the closest option that residents and tourists have to take a swim. Pea beach is divided into 2 separated by the small protrusion where Pea Restobar rises. To the left next of the breakwater has been built a natural pool protected by stone walls. On the right, facing the sea is the beach, a small portion of sand with some umbrellas. A few meters beyond is Ahu Tautira on which stand two moai. After watching the turtles for a time, we headed back to get our taxi for the flight (first class) back to Santiago.

Rongo Rongo
Santiago Staff (Text I)
Rongorongo script (kohau rongo rongo) is a system of glyphs carved on wood or tablets, yet to be deciphered. Kohau is “wood used to make the hull of the canoe” and rongo rongo means “great message/ study”, so kohau rongo rongo is “recitation wood/narrator staffs”.
According to oral tradition, Hotu Matu’a, had 67 tablets (like the 67 Maori wisdoms) telling how to sail, astronomy, etc. However, no other writing has been found in Polynesia.
Rongorongo may have been invented after the arrival of the Spaniards in 1770, when they asked the ariki to sign the island assignment contract, the first contact Rapa Nui had with western script. It is likely the meaning of Rongorongo script will remain a mystery as there are only 27 pieces with Rongo Rongo inscriptions, scattered in museums all over the world. No original piece remains in Easter Island. The scarcity, and lack of knowledge about the ancient Rapa Nui language, makes it almost impossible to decipher. The symbols and glyphs were carved using shark teeth or obsidian flakes in toromiro or Oceania rosewood wood, on both sides and without spaces or separations. They seem to represent anthropomorphic beings in different positions, creatures that resemble birds, aquatic animals or plants, celestial beings, small hooks or geometric figures. It is probable it is a symbolic rather than phonetic script. The system used in Rongo Rongo tablets is inversed boustrophedon, which means you write a line in one direction and the next upside down in the opposite direction. To read the tablet you need to turn it over as you read. One of the first missionaries on the island, French monk Eugenio Eyraud, reported: “Wooden tablets covered in hieroglyphics are found in every hut. They are animal figures unbeknownst in the island. Each figure has a name.”
Unfortunately, Rongo Rongo tablets were burned by the missionaries as satanic messages. There have been numerous attempts to decipher rongorongo script since its discovery in the late 19th century. Apart from a portion of one tablet (Tablet C Mamari), which deals with a lunar calendar, no text is understood, and even the calendar cannot actually be read. There are three obstacles to decipherment
- the small number of remaining texts, comprising only 15,000 legible glyphs
- the lack of context in which to interpret the texts, such as illustrations or known parallel texts
- modern Rapanui is heavily mixed with Tahitian and is unlikely to closely reflect the language of the tablets

Since the 1950s, it has been argued that rongorongo is not true writing but proto-writing, ie an ideographic rebus- based mnemonic device, making it impossible to decipher. The topic of the texts is unknown; ideas include genealogy, navigation, astronomy, agriculture. Oral history suggests that only the Rapanui elite were literate, and that the tablets were tapu (sacred). In 1868 Florentin-Étienne Jaussen, Bishop of Tahiti, received a gift from Easter Island of a rongorongo tablet. He asked Father Hippolyte Roussel on Easter Island to collect more tablets and find islanders capable of reading them. Roussel acquired a few, but no-one to read them. In 1869 in Tahiti Jaussen found a labourer from Easter Island, Metoro Tau‘a Ure, who knew the inscriptions "by heart" (rather than being able to read them). Metoro deciphered four tablets: A (Tahua), B (Aruku kurenga), C (Mamari), and E (Keiti) and a list of the glyphs they identified was published for A and B- the Jaussen list. It has been criticised for five glyphs called porcelain but actually porcelaine= cowrie! In 1974 Barthel realised Metoro had read the lines of Keiti forwards on the reverse but backwards on the obverse and failed to recognise the very obvious full moon pictogram on Mamari. William J. Thomson, paymaster on USS Mohican, spent Dec 1886 on Easter Island, during which time he collected the names of the nights and months of the year, key to interpreting the single understood sequence of rongorongo (Mamari tablet), which is unusual as it contains 13 months; others mention only 12. He translated Anakena as August, rather than July as it appears the Rapanui used a lunisolar calendar with ‘kotuti' as a leap month. Thomson met an old man, Ure Va‘e Iko who claimed he had been learning to read rongorongo at the time of the Peruvian raids, and to understand most of the characters. He had been the steward of King Nga‘ara, the last king with knowledge of writing, and though unable to write himself, he knew many rongorongo chants by memory. Unfortunately he refused to "ruin his chances for salvation by doing what his Christian instructors had forbidden" and fled. Eventually he was persuaded and the English- Tahitian landowner Alexander Salmon (who had learnt some Rapanui) took down Ure's dictation, which he translated into English, for tablets E Keiti (Apai), R Small Washington (Atua Matariri), S Great Washington (Eaha to ran ariiki Kete), D Échancrée (Ka ihi uiga) and C Mamari (Ate-a-renga-hokau iti poheraa). While no one has succeeded in correlating Ure's readings with the rongorongo texts, the first two, Apai and Atua Matariri, are not corrupted with Tahitian. The verses of Atua Matariri are “X ki ‘ai ki roto Y, ka pû te Z” (“X by mounting Y, let Z come forth"), eg. "Moon, by mounting into Darkness, let Sun come forth or “mounting into Stingray, let Shark come forth" seem like creation chants, but do not link to Rapanui or Polynesian creation mythology. Possibly the Atua Matariri chant which Ure knew was not the specific tablet he recited it for.
In 1957 Butinov and Knorozov (who later deciphered the Maya writing system) suggested the repetitive structure of a sequence of 15 glyphs on G (Small Santiago Tablet) was like a genealogy (glyph 200 could be a title like "king", and glyph 76 a patronymic marker, ie: King A, B's son, King B, C’s son, King C, D's son, King D, E's son; a lineage). If this is true, other glyph sequences may be personal names. The Santiago Staff, with 63 glyph 700 (îka "victim"), could be in part a kohau îka (war casualties).
Barthel identified 3 lines on recto (side a) of tablet C (Mamari) as a lunar/ astronomical calendar. The Mamari calendar is the only rongorongo whose function is accepted as understood, though it cannot actually be read. The core is 29 left-side crescents of the full moon, and a pictogram of te nuahine k# ‘umu ‘a rangi kotekote 'old woman lighting an oven in kotekote sky' (Polynesian mythology).
All the texts but I and G consist mainly of shared sequences of glyphs, though they occur in different orders/ contexts. There are 100 shared phrases of 10-100 glyphs, accounting for 99.7% of the total glyphs.
6f1f8700-8a86-11eb-bd8c-897c9dca7d9f.png .
One of Jaussen's tablets, Mamari was collected on Easter Island by Father Gaspar Zumbohm in 1870 and sent to Tahiti. Mamari and Large Washington (S) are the only tablets with a documented provenance. Mamari has been identified with a tablet called Kouhau ‘o te Ranga that belonged to ‘ariki Nga‘ara. It was stolen by his servant, who gave it to a friend, whose son sold it to Zumbohm. Katherine Routledge was told that the Kouhau ‘o te Ranga tablet was unique, a ranga tablet that listed the names of enemy prisoners, giving it power to conquer and enslave. The Portia tree the wood was cut from must have been some 15m tall and Easter Island has long been deforested, proving an antiquity.
Rongorongo text G, known as Small Santiago, is the smaller of two Pacific rosewood tablets in Santiago Archaeology Museo Nacional de Historia Natural. Gv (reverse) is distinct from the rest of the rongorongo corpus.

Rongorongo text H, the larger of 2 tablets in Santiago, is called the Great/Large Santiago tablet, and is 1 of 3 recording the so-called 'Great Tradition'. Traditional fire-making caused the gouge. A plugged hole at the top may have been used for hanging. The Large Santiago tablet holds a long glyph cycle and is considered the finest rongorongo inscription. The Staff was presented to the officers of the Chilean corvette O'Higgins in 1870 by French colonist Dutrou-Bornier, who claimed it had belonged to an ‘ariki (king).

Text C
Modern Rapanui
The current native population on Easter Island is bilingual, in Spanish and Rapa Nui (commonly used by islanders in their families). Vananga Rapanui (Rapanui speech) is a Polynesian language, spoken exclusively by Rapanui, with a total of less than 3,000 speakers. In spite of its roots and similarity to Tahitian and Marquesan, Rapa Nui is independent and indigenous, because the island’s isolation caused unique characteristics. Rapa Nui has only 10 consonants and 5 vowels, which makes it difficult to learn because many words of different meaning sound very similar. Rapa Nui phonology is very similar to Maori, leading to speculation that the first navigators to Easter Island could be the same as those who went to New Zealand. Modern Rapa Nui is very influenced by Tahitian and has loanwords from English, French and Spanish. Rapa Nui was in danger of extinction. In the 1960s, Spanish was important due to the Chilean administration: interracial marriages and increased tourism caused many young Rapa Nui to grow up as Spanish speakers. Recently, the Rapanui people have experienced an ethnic reaffirmation as an indigenous people, with a wish to preserve the language.
Iorana - Hello / Good morning / Good bye Pehe koe? - How are you?
Ana hanga koe - Please Mauru-ur - Thank you
To’oku henua ko... - I’m from... Éé - Yes Ina - No
Rapa Nui Tattoo and body painting are artistic manifestations of Rapa Nui culture. Like other Polynesians, it has a spiritual aspect and tattoos were considered a receptor for divine strength or mana. Priests and rulers had more tattoos than the rest of the population, as a symbol of their hierarchy, though both men and women were tattooed to represent their social class. The tattooing process is performed with bone needles and combs (Uhi) made of bird, hen or fish bones. The ink was made out of natural products, primarily from the burning of Ti leaves and sugar cane.
Wood carving Reimiro, a gorget or breast ornament of crescent shape with a head at one or both tips (also on the flag of Rapa Nui). Two Rei Miru at the British Museum are inscribed with Rongorongo. Moko Miro, a man with a lizard head was used as a club or dancers wore it around their neck. The Moko Miro would be placed at the doorway to protect the household, hanging from the roof or set in the ground. The original form had eyes made from white shells, and the pupils of obsidian. Moai kavakava are male carvings and the Moai Paepae are female carvings. These grotesque, highly detailed human figures carved from Toromiro pine, represent ancestors. Usually, they are used for harvest celebrations or fertility rites. When the statues were not used, they would be wrapped in bark cloth and kept at home. There were reports that the islanders would pick up the figures and dance with them. Early figures are rare and generally depict a male with an emaciated body and a goatee. The figures' ribs and vertebrae are exposed and many examples show carved glyphs on the body, especially the top of the head. The female figures, rarer than males, depict the body as flat with the hand across the body. The figures, although some were quite large, were worn as ornamental pieces around a tribesman's neck. The more figures worn, the more important the man.
Riva riva - Very good
To’oku ingoa ko... - My name is...
E hia moni...? - How much is ...?

Posted by PetersF 13:01 Archived in Chile Tagged island chile easter rapa nui Comments (0)

Chile Return to Santiago

Trains, skyscrapers and chilling

15th Feb Return to Santiago

We arrived back in Santiago quite late and again there was an issue getting us off the plane. Even though our bags were marked ‘First class priority’ they took so long unloading that the lady picking us up thought she'd missed us! Luckily we found each other and it was back to the hotel Conchita Flores, though in a much larger room. As it was late (after 11pm) and we'd eaten on the plane we only wanted an easy drink and snack. A short 5 minute walk brought us to the friendly bar, Ramblas, where we had a long beer and a cheese platter before heading to bed.

We decided to head over to the Quinta Normal area with its park, lake and museums. An easy trip on the metro, with just one change and the exit arrived directly in front of the park. It was a hot day, so it was pleasant to walk along the lake edge under the cool trees. We managed to find the Railway Museum quite easily and as it was just opening (and apparently not well known) we were the only ones there. All the engines and carriages were beautifully displayed outdoors, with information panels in Spanish and English (though as they were mostly statistics any language would do!) Museo Ferroviario www.corpdicyt.cl/mferroviario/ www.lcgb.org.uk/html/santiagomuseum.htm comprises sixteen locomotives (mainly steam, but also diesel and early electric), four carriages, one freight wagon and two stations, each accompanied by a bilingual sign with the technical characteristics and historical significance. The collection comes from the Ferrocarriles del Estado, the national Chilean railway (estab 1884). The pride of the collection is a 1909-vintage, English built, articulated rack and pinion fitted steam locomotive which for many years worked over the legendary Transandine Railway, between Los Andes in Chile and Las Cuevas, just over the border to Argentina. Another is a special carriage, dating from the early 20th C. We spent longer than expected here as we could go into quite a few carriages (I especially liked the stained glass windowed
one!) and thought the museum was a bargain at CLP$1000.

We grabbed a kiosk water and walked the 2 minutes to the Natural History Museum (El Museo Nacional de Historia Natural), which was free http://www.mnhn.cl/613/w3-channel.html.
The attendant suggested we start on the left, with the Palaeontology galleries and fossil records. The Mesozoic era vertebrates included a Carnotaurus sastrei - very nice. It was informative and well done, covering the odd animals of prehistoric Chile, such as the Giant Sloth and Macrauchenia (an extinct ungulate with a short trunk). Interesting here was the recently restored Pelagornis Chilensis, an ancient toothed bird. We continued to the Biogeography galleries, giving excellent coverage of each area of Chile, the plants, animals, peoples, geology, climate and eco-systems. Especially well done were dioramas of each area showing a typical scene, even to the insects. As we went around the quadrangle, clock-wise, we went through El Origen (palaeontology), Zona Desertica (the arid far north of the Atacama), Zona Subdesertica (between Atacama and Santiago, Transverse valleys), Zona Mediterranea (around Santiago), Zona de Transicion (the Cordillera), Zona Templada (Lakes, volcanoes and Chiloe island), Zona Austral (Patagonia/ Tierra del Fuego), Antactica Chilena (obvious! Chile claims most of the O’Higgins peninsula) and finally El Mar Chileno y Sus Islas (Pacific Ocean, Easter Island/ Juan Fernandez isles). The Chilean Antarctic Territory is 53-90°W and the South Pole-60°S, inc South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula (Tierra de O'Higgins), and adjacent Alexander Island, Charcot Island, and part of Ellsworth Land (overlapping British and Argentinian claims). It is administered by the Cabo de Hornos in Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region.
Zona Desertica- Llama, alpaca, burrowing owls, puma, ducks, flamingo, rhea, hares, iguana, conebill, cacti. Zona Subdesertica- chinchilla, degu, wine palm, cacti, bellflower, Huemel deer, coastal areas of pelican, gulls guano. Zona Mediterranea- Chilean Palm, Monkey puzzles, kodkod (guigna leopard, smallest big cat), zorzal and loica (birds). Zona de Transicion- deciduous forest, flowering plants, vampire bats. For Zona Templada and Austral see Lakes and Patagonia. We looked at the famous Plomo ice-mummy (next page) found in the Atacama, a young boy sacrificed by the Inca in Chile. He was only about 6 years old and was the first Incan mummy discovered, in 1954 on Cerro Plomo. He was buried c1450 with some ceremony, his hair put into 200 braids and his teeth gold-capped. The people of Tierra del Fuego were expertly explained and put into context. Cultural anthropology, which covered the Aymara, Mapuche, Selk'nam, Rapanui, Kaweskar and Yámana were superb in their artefacts and information. The museum has the best public collection of rongorongo in the world, as well as nice birdman carvings (below). We headed into the central hall, which contained the 17m skeleton of a Blue Whale and a huge number of insects, many giant size (prehistoric). We went back to the corridors to view the Chilean waters (A/V screen showing sea creatures in their correct size) and the displays covering the Juan Fernández Islands (the 3 volcanic islands of Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara).
The museum is the oldest natural history museum in South America, founded 1830 by French naturalist Claudio Gay, commissioned by the Chilean government. Its mandate is biology and geography of Chile. In 1889 botany, zoology, and mineralogy were added. The anthropological department shows the archaeology of Central Chile through the Inca Empire and modern/ recently extinct peoples of Chile and Easter Island.

PROVIDENCIA It was heading towards lunch, so after a walk in the Quinta park, we caught the metro over to the Barrio Providencia. As we walked towards the Costanera Tower, we found a nice cafe in a little square where we could have lunch. Kalafate, the cafe, did a great set menu including drinks and was popular with local workers (we could taste why). After lunch we continued to the Costanera shopping centre, a huge complex on 5 levels and bought our tickets to go up the Tower. Sky Costanera Tower and observatory www.skycostanera.cl is the highest in South America. At a height of 300 m, Sky Costanera has an impressive 360° view of Santiago. The lift took us to the first observatory level- all glass with free binoculars and loads of information about each area, including its history. It was then an escalator to an upper level. Sky Costanera is open 365 days a year $8.000. We came down to a different point than we had gone up, which fooled us for a moment, until we realised we were higher than before. Having grabbed a quick drink (prickly pear and wineberry) we walked back to our hotel via Santiago’s free open air sculpture park. Nestled between Mapocho Rv/ Avenida Santa María, the Sculpture Park (Parque de las Esculturas) was opened in 1982 to beautify an area damaged by a flood of the Mapocho. The park features sculptures by Chilean and international artists. The park spans from Puente Pedro de Valdivia to Puente Padre Letelier. As we wandered back towards the hotel we admired the street market, and purchased some lovely hand made lapis earrings.
We had a rest, then set out for our evening meal, kindly booked by the hotel, at La Giratorio, a famous revolving restaurant in Providencia at 8pm. To access the restaurant you first tell the ground floor doorman you have a reservation. He checks upstairs, then puts you on the lift. You are met by a hostess who double checks and escorts you on a second lift to the restaurant itself. We had a great table right by the windows, so we could watch the sunset over the city as we ate and as the room revolved. Our “menu” was an Ipad with the English menu installed and we selected into the basket; quite a neat idea to save printing loads of languages menus. Beautiful food, quite pricey of course, but ambiance was all here! http://giratorio.cl/en/

Posted by PetersF 17:37 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Chile - last day in Santiago

La Moneda, Cousino Macul

17th Feb Santiago LA MONEDA AND PLAZA

Our last day in Santiago and our last chance to watch the guard changing ceremony. Having taken the metro we arrived in good time, although there were already quite a few people there. It was, however, worth the wait as it was an impressive show with horses, marching bands, etc. The palace itself is quite interesting too! La Moneda Palace/ Palacio de La Moneda is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile and General Secretariat. It occupies an entire block in downtown Santiago, in the Civic District between Moneda (North), Morandé (East), Alameda del Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins (South) and Teatinos street (West). La Moneda, originally a colonial mint (Moneda = coin) 1814-1929, was designed by Italian architect Joaquín Toesca. Construction began 1784 and it was opened in 1805. In June, 1845 under president Manuel Bulnes, the palace became the seat of government and presidential residence. In 1930, a public square, Plaza de la Constitución was built in front of the palace. After the presidency of Gabriel González Videla it ceased to be a presidential residence. In the military coup d'état of 1973, the Chilean Air Force bombarded the palace. Reconstruction was completed 1981, although some bullet marks have been preserved. During the restorations, an underground office complex (bunker) was built under the front square to provide a safe escape for dictator General Augusto Pinochet. President Ricardo Lagos opened the inner courtyards to the public during certain hours of the day. Lagos also re-opened Morandé 80 gate (used by Chilean presidents to enter the palace, eliminated during the restoration as not being in the original plans, but restored for its symbolism as the gate through which Chilean Presidents entered La Moneda as ordinary citizens). It was also the gate through which the body of President Allende was taken out after the 1973 coup. A traditional changing of the guard ceremony takes place every two days (odd days in odd-number months, even days in even-number months, inc Sun, at 10 a.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. on w/ends). A formal ceremony dating back to 1850, it lasts 30 mins and includes a band, troops with horses parading in the square, pomp and circumstance. Carabineros de Chile provides the guards and band for the ceremony.
The Palacio de la Moneda’s main façade faces Moneda street, and its rooms are distributed along the transverse and longitudinal axes forming several patios; Patio de los Cañones (entrance hall); a covered patio; Patio de los Naranjos (presidential ceremonies). To celebrate the bicentenary of Chile’s independence 2010, a public square, Plaza de la Ciudadanía (Citizens Square) was constructed on the south side of the palace down to the Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins or “Alameda”. Designed by Undurraga Devés Arquitectos, the Plaza has been called “one of the most important public works in the last century”. Paths leading down from the plaza give access to the underground Palacio de La Moneda Cultural Centre.

We had booked a trip to the Cousino vineyard for late afternoon, so decided to head back towards the Plaza des Armas to admire the buildings.
We went into the beautiful Post Office (left) built 1881 in Beaux Arts style (interior right) and then decided to try the National History Museum, which was not rated good on most websites, but had the advantage of being free! Personally I think they did it an injustice as it was surprisingly well done, dealing with the history of Chile in a chronological manner. There were a number of quite nice artefacts, including some prehistory ceramics, some great paintings (mainly of kings and governors, but notably also a famous one of Donna Ines Suarez defending Santiago in the Mapuche attack). As we headed towards the end of the upper floor an attendant approached us and asked if we’d like to go up the bell tower. Of course we did! Only 3 people are allowed up at a time, so we were quite lucky. The spiral staircase up 3 flights opened to a small balcony and a beautiful view of the Plaza below. When we’d finished we went back down and found that he was refusing everyone else; it looks like it’s up to the attendant, so we were really privileged.


Palacio de la Real Audiencia de Santiago (Royal Court Palace or Palace of the Boxes) is a building located in the north central area of the Plaza de Armas. The building houses, since 1982, the National History Museum of Chile. The building was built 1804-07 to serve as the home for the royal courts of justice. It was the work of Juan Goycolea, a pupil and disciple of the Italian-born Joaquin Toesca who designed the nearby La Moneda Palace and the east facade of the Cathedral in the last two decades of the 18th century. The courts sat here for 2 years until Chile's first government junta, in 1810, assembled to replace the Spanish governor. Eight years later the Chilean Declaration of Independence was solidified and the building served as the meeting place for the new congress and the seat of government until 1846, until President Manuel Bulnes moved to La Moneda Palace. The Chilean National History Museum (Museo Histórico Nacional or MHN) is located in the Palacio de la Real Audiencia. The institution was founded 1911 and consists of the former palace's old rooms used as exhibition spaces for artefacts relating to the history of Chile. There is a room of archaeology/ethnology, as well as rooms for coins/medals, army stuff, paintings (artisanal), conquest, church and state, colonial life, republican Chile, popular front, etc. http://www.museohistoriconacional.cl

Definitely lunch time! We wanted to sit and enjoy the Plaza and its bustling life, so we chose an open air restaurant by the cathedral. Faisan d’Or, the restaurant, served us typical Chilean empanadas and a nice cool drink. Perfect.
Arica Culture 1000-1400; Chiu Chui 700-1000 and Atacama cultures 900-1200; Inca 1300-1400 and Arica 900-1200 AD pots

After lunch we just went for a stroll, passing Casa Colorada and ending at La Merced. The red basilica looked interesting, so we went in and were surprised it is not particularly mentioned in tourist guides. When Pedro de Valdivia established Santiago the Order of Mercy priests (Mercedarians)
arrived in 1541 and built a church. However, the Franciscans managed to take possession of it soon after in 1556, leaving the Mercadarians churchless. Juan Fernandez de Alderete, a member of Valdivia’s expedition therefore donated the La Merced land to them for their church. It was destroyed in several earthquakes until the current building (1765), completed internally by Joaquin Toesca (1799) in neo-Renaissance style. The towers were added in 1859 and 1885. It contains two splinters of “The Cross”, a painting (on the altar) of Mary from Emperor Carlos V and two wood carvings of Mary in cases in the nave. There were some grand tombs, of Rodrigo de Quiroga and his wife, Mateo de Toro Zambrano and the Count of Quinta Alegre. In the presbytery, are the symbols of basilical dignity: the tintinábulo and the conopeo, the only ones in Chile. To the left of the main altar is the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament, in Carrara marble. In the pink, apricot and green aisles were pictures of mercedarios saints. The main altar is surrounded by a construction supported by columns and pilasters, smooth. The sides are fully decorated with the pink, damask and green tones. After the church we went next door to their museum (previously the cloisters). We paid a minute entrance fee and went in. The museum is arranged around a central garden and we were the only people. The lower floor was interesting, especially their Easter Island room, which has one of the 29 remaining rongorongo tablets. The upstairs was less interesting as it was all artefacts from their liturgical processions. http://www.barriolastarria.com/museo_la_merced_barrio_lastarria.htm

WINE TASTING http://www.cousinomacul.com/en/
It was time to head back to the hotel so we could catch an uber to take us to Viñas Cousino Macul and Aquitania. It was quite a drive, but a sunny day, so pleasant. There were barriers at the entrance, but as we had prebooked it was fine. The English tour started at 3pm, and we went initially outside to look at the vineyards (originally they had owned most of the land up to the Plaza des Armas!), then inside to the vaults, both old wood barrels and the modern metal. The winery is heavily influenced by French traditions, including ideas about terroir, corks, ageing, etc. Interestingly they keep a “library” of each year’s wines, just a few bottles of each. Below that were the old vaults and barrels, no longer in use due to mould. Upstairs again was a small museum showing where they first exported to and even their ingenious bottling 4-stroke car engine! Finally, the tasting! We had a varietal, Reserva and Gran Reserva.

  • Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay. The first chardonnay was made in 1969 here and is one of their finer vintages, of quite restricted numbers.
  • Finis Terrae (Maipo), a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 75% of the wine comes from their oldest vineyards.
  • Antiguas Gran Reservas Syrah, their emblem wine.

Grapes were first grown on this estate in 1564, when the King of Spain granted Hacienda Macul to conquistador Juan Jufre. In 1760 Juan Antonio Cousino arrives from Spain and marries the heiress of the estate. Sadly she died giving birth to her first child, so Luis Cousino (her son) became sole proprietor on his father’s death. His half sister, Isadora, later joined him and was very influential in bring new varieties of grape from Europe and constructing the important winery vaults in European fashion. In 1970 much of the Macul land was appropriated and the family moved most of its vineyards, apart from this estate, which now produces their premium wines. The Cousino family still own the vineyards and winery! Then it was an Uber back as we were leaving early the next morning. We decided on a nearby Providencia pub for dinner, so started with a jug of terremoto on the balcony of Tio Manolo, followed by dinner of pastel de choclo at Bar Bazul.

Parliamentary era (1891–1925)
The so-called Parliamentary Republic was not a true parliamentary system, in which the chief executive is elected by the legislature. It was, however, an unusual regime in presidentialist Latin America, for Congress really did overshadow the rather ceremonial office of the president and exerted authority over the chief executive's cabinet appointees. In turn, Congress was dominated by the landed elites. This was the heyday of classic political and economic liberalism. For many decades, historians derided the Parliamentary Republic as a quarrel-prone system that merely distributed spoils and clung to its laissez-faire policy while national problems mounted. At the mercy of Congress, cabinets came and went frequently, although there was more stability and continuity in public administration than historians have suggested. Chile temporarily resolved its border disputes with Argentina with the Puna de Atacama Lawsuit of 1899, the Boundary treaty of 1881 and the 1902 General Treaty of Arbitration, though not without engaging in an expensive naval arms race beforehand. Political authority ran from local electoral bosses in the provinces through the congressional and executive branches, which reciprocated with payoffs from taxes on nitrate sales. Congressmen often won election by bribing voters in this clientelistic and corrupt system. Many politicians relied on intimidated or loyal peasant voters in the countryside, even though the population was becoming increasingly urban. Lacklustre presidents and ineffectual administrations of the period did little to respond to the country's dependence on volatile nitrate exports, spiralling inflation, and massive urbanisation. In recent years, particularly when the authoritarian regime of Augusto Pinochet is taken into consideration, some scholars have re-evaluated the Parliamentary Republic of 1891–1925. Without denying its shortcomings, they have lauded its democratic stability, its control of the armed forces, respect for civil liberties, expansion of suffrage and participation, and gradual admission of new contenders, especially reformers, to the political arena. In particular, two parties grew in importance, the Democrat Party, with roots among artisans and urban workers, and the Radical Party, representing urban middle sectors and provincial elites. By the early 20th century, both parties were winning increasing numbers of seats in Congress. The more leftist members of the Democrat Party became involved in the leadership of labour unions and broke off to launch the Socialist Workers' Party (POS) in 1912. The founder of the POS and its best-known leader, Luis Emilio Recabarren, also founded the Communist Party of Chile (PCCh) in 1922.
Presidential era (1925–73)
By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, Arturo Alessandri Palma. He appealed to those who believed social questions should be addressed, those worried by the decline in nitrate exports during WWI, and those weary of presidents dominated by Congress. Promising "evolution to avoid revolution", he pioneered a new campaign style of appealing directly to the masses. After winning a seat in the Senate representing the mining north in 1915, he earned the sobriquet "Lion of Tarapacá.” As a dissident Liberal running for the presidency, Alessandri attracted support from the more reformist Radicals and Democrats and formed the so-called Liberal Alliance. He received strong backing from the middle and working classes as well as from the provincial elites. Students and intellectuals also rallied to his banner. At the same time, he reassured the landowners that social reforms would be limited to the cities.
Alessandri discovered that his efforts would be blocked by the conservative Congress. Like Balmaceda, he infuriated them by going over their heads to appeal to the voters in the congressional elections of 1924. His reform legislation was finally rammed through Congress under pressure from younger military officers, sick of the neglect of the armed forces, political infighting, social unrest, and galloping inflation. A double military coup set off a period of great political instability that lasted until 1932. First military right-wingers opposing Alessandri seized power in 1924, and then reformers in favour of the ousted president took charge in 1925. The Saber noise (ruido de sables) incident of 1924, provoked by discontent of young officers, mostly middle class lieutenants, lead to the establishment of the September Junta led by General Luis Altamirano and the exile of Alessandri. However, fears of a conservative restoration in progressive sectors of the army led to another coup in January, which ended with the establishment of the January Junta as interim government while waiting for Alessandri's return. The latter group was led by two colonels, Carlos Ibáñez del Campo and Marmaduke Grove. They returned Alessandri to the presidency and enacted his promised reforms by decree. A new Constitution encapsulating his proposed reforms was ratified in a plebiscite in September 1925. The new constitution gave increased powers to the presidency. Alessandri broke with the classical liberalism's policies of laissez-faire by creating a Central Bank and imposing a revenue tax. However, social discontents was crushed, leading to the Marusia massacre in 1925 followed by the La Coruña massacre.
The longest lasting of the 10 governments 1924-32 was that of General Carlos Ibáñez, who briefly held power in 1925 and again between 1927-31 in what was a de facto dictatorship. When constitutional rule was restored in 1932, a strong middle-class party, the Radicals, emerged. It became the key force in coalition governments for the next 20 years. The Seguro Obrero Massacre took place 1938, in the midst of a heated 3-way election campaign between the ultraconservative Gustavo Ross Santa María, the radical Popular Front's Pedro Aguirre Cerda, and the newly formed Popular Alliance candidate, Carlos Ibáñez del Campo. The National Socialist Movement of Chile supported Ibáñez. To pre-empt Ross's victory, the National Socialists mounted a coup d'état intended to take down the right wing government of Alessandri and place Ibáñez in power. During the period of Radical Party dominance (1932–52), the state increased its role in the economy. In 1952, voters returned Ibáñez to office for another 6 years. Jorge Alessandri succeeded Ibáñez in 1958. The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei Montalva by an absolute majority initiated a period of major reform. Under the slogan "Revolution in Liberty", the Frei administration embarked on far-reaching social and economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian reform, including rural unionisation of agricultural workers. 1967, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who found them excessive. At the end of his term, Frei had accomplished many noteworthy objectives, but he had not fully achieved his party's ambitious goals.
Popular Unity years
In the 1970 presidential election, Senator Salvador Allende Gossens won most votes in a three-way contest. He was a Marxist physician and member of Chile's Socialist Party, who headed the "Popular Unity" (UP) coalition of Socialist, Communist, Radical, and Social- Democratic Parties, along with dissident Christian Democrats, the Popular Unitary Action Movement (MAPU), and the Independent Popular Action. Despite pressure from the government of the United States, the Chilean Congress, keeping with tradition, conducted a runoff vote between the leading candidates, Allende and former president Jorge Alessandri. This procedure previously a formality, yet became quite fraught in 1970. After assurances of legality on Allende's part, the murder of the Army Commander-in-Chief, General René Schneider and Frei's refusal to form an alliance with Alessandri to oppose Allende, on the grounds that the Christian Democrats were a workers' party and could not make common cause with the oligarchs, Allende was chosen by a vote of 153 to 35. The Popular Unity platform included the nationalisation of US interests in Chile's major copper mines, the advancement of workers' rights, deepening of land reform, reorganisation of the national economy into socialised, mixed, and private sectors, a foreign policy of "international solidarity" and national independence and a new institutional order (the "people's state" or "poder popular"), including the institution of a unicameral congress. Immediately after the election, the United States expressed its disapproval and raised a number of economic sanctions against Chile. The CIA's website reports that the agency aided three Chilean opposition groups during that time and sought to instigate a coup to prevent Allende from taking office, known as Track I and Track II. In the first year of Allende's term, the short-term economic results of Economics Minister Pedro Vuskovic's expansive monetary policy were favourable: 12% industrial growth and 8.6% increase in GDP, accompanied by major declines in inflation (from 34.9% to 22.1%) and unemployment (down to 3.8%). Allende adopted measures including price freezes, wage increases, and tax reforms, which had the effect of increasing consumer spending and redistributing income downward. Joint public-private public works projects helped reduce unemployment. Much of the banking sector was nationalised. Many enterprises within the copper, coal, iron, nitrate, and steel industries were expropriated, nationalized, or subjected to state intervention. Industrial output increased sharply and unemployment fell during the administration's first year. However, these results were not sustainable and in 1972 the Chilean escudo had runaway inflation of 140%. An economic depression, begun in 1967 peaked in 1972, exacerbated by capital flight, plummeting private investment, and withdrawal of bank deposits in response to Allende's socialist program. Production fell and unemployment rose. The combination of inflation and government-mandated price-fixing led to the rise of black markets in rice, beans, sugar, and flour, and a "disappearance" of such basic commodities from supermarket shelves.
Recognising that US intelligence was trying to destabilise his presidency, the KGB offered financial assistance to the first democratically-elected Marxist president. However, the reason behind the US covert actions against Allende concerned not the spread of Marxism but fear over losing control of its investments. 20% of total US foreign investment was tied up in Latin America. Part of the CIA's program involved a propaganda campaign that portrayed Allende as a would-be Soviet dictator, even though their own intelligence reports showed that Allende posed no threat to democracy. Richard Nixon’s administration inserted secret operatives in Chile, in order to destabilise Allende's government and international financial pressure restricted economic credit to Chile. The CIA funded opposition media and politicians. By 1972, the economic progress of Allende's first year had been reversed, and the economy was in crisis. Political polarisation increased, and both pro- and anti- government demonstrations became frequent. By 1973, Chilean society had grown highly polarised, between strong opponents and strong supporters of Salvador Allende and his government. Military actions and movements, separate from the civilian authority, began to manifest in the countryside. The Tanquetazo was a failed military coup d'état attempted against Allende in June 1973. In its "Agreement", 1973, the Chamber of Deputies asserted that Chilean democracy had broken down and called for "redirecting government activity", to restore constitutional rule. 1973, the Chilean military deposed Allende, who shot himself in the head to avoid capture as the Presidential Palace was surrounded and bombed. Subsequently, rather than restore governmental authority to the civilian legislature, Augusto Pinochet exploited his role as Commander of the Army to seize total power and to establish himself at the head of a junta. CIA involvement in the coup is documented; it released documents in 2000 acknowledging that Pinochet was one of their favoured alternatives to take power.

Posted by PetersF 17:40 Archived in Chile Tagged museum chile santiago wine vineyards rapa_nui Comments (0)

Chile : The Lakes

Puerto Varas and Llanquihui

18th Feb Lan Chile - LA 273 Santiago (SCL) Dep: 13:25 to Puerto Montt Arrive: 15:10
19th Feb Sun Trip round lake (pm) Llanquihue (wood carving), Frutillar Bajo (Low Frutillar) Terraza Del Volcán (Kuchen), Teatro del Lago, Frutillar Alto, Puerto Octay Restaurant La Marca
20th Feb Mon Chiloe Island; penguin tour. Lunch at El Rincón De Puñihuil. Ancud Square, Central Market. Cafe Mawen (outdoors) at Puerto Varas for ice cream pm
21st Feb Tue Lan Chile - LA 287 Puerto Montt (PMC) Dep: 10:30 Punta Arenas (PUQ) Arr: 12:40 Transfer to Hotel Chalet Chapital, Punta Arenas. Naval museum, Sara Braun palace

18th Feb Arrival at Puerto Varas
We went out for a quick stroll in Santiago before we were collected for our flight (luckily the host of the hotel was very entertaining while we waited), and arrived at Puerto Montt in the mid afternoon. It was a bit drizzly (but then again this is the LAKES district!), but not too bad. We arrived at our pretty hotel Casa Kalfu, Puerto Varas http://www.casakalfu.cl in 40 minutes or so, driving through mostly empty rolling downs. The hotel was lovely, inside and out, and it was a huge shame for them that a concrete monstrosity was being slowly erected between them and the lake. We were hungry to say the least (“lunch” on LAN consists of a 1-sided menu listing 4 “snacks” e.g. small muffin, cereal bar, of which you can chose 2). Heading along the lakeshore towards the main town we had a bit of a wander before finding a floral brasserie for a meal. Las Buenas Brasas, San Pedro, Puerto Varas had their own gardens and was very much a brasserie, rather than a restaurant. However, the food was wholesome; sort of Chile meets Bavaria, and inexpensive. Down here the local population look quite Germanic, reflecting the huge German immigration into the region. The guide explained that many families still speak German, that some schools are German-medium and that it has even affected Spanish as spoken in the Lakes, for instance they will say “ja” instead of “si”. Certainly we were frequently greeted with Guten Tag/ Morgan, rather than Buenos Dias; or in the far south people say calentador (water heater), but in central Chile it is estufa. The food too is decidedly Germanic, with Kuchen, strudhl, nodel and soup common in all the places we visited. Naturally we had some of the local beer, Los Lagos district being famous for its micro-breweries. We tried Colonos and Salzburg, both brewed locally, and even the odd named Chester Beer, brewed next door (not all today of course!).

19th Feb Around Lago Llanquihue

We had already been told that Osorno Volcano and Petrohue Falls were closed due to landslips, so we decided to explore Puerto Varas in the morning, before a tour of the lake in the afternoon. We went first along the shore east, towards Arturo Prat and past the Lutheran church, before heading back west past the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church to the town proper. Puerto Varas, aka the City of Roses, is a city in Chile's Lake District (Los Lagos) on the southwest banks of Lake Llanquihue, with views of snow-capped Osorno Volcano and Calbuco Volcano, both still active. Traditional German-style architecture characterises the town, reflecting its colonial past. Built in the early 20th century, the red-and-white Sacred Heart of Jesus Church has three striking towers. Also in town, the Antonio Felmer Museum explores the history of the 19th-century German settlers with displays of furniture, clothing and farming machinery. In the north, Park Philippi is crossed by trails and offers views of the city. Mount Calvary is adorned with small chapels and an altar at its peak. The rugged Vicente Perez Rosales National Park lies northeast of Puerto Varas. It's home to Petrohue Falls, which flow down volcanic rock chutes formed by lava. Nearby are the emerald-green waters of Todos los Santos Lake. Farther east, bordering Argentina, is soaring Tronador Volcano. The city dates back to 1853 and is named after Antonio Varas, the Minister of the Interior at the time. It was founded by German immigrants who settled the shores of Lake Llanquihue as part of a government colonisation project during the presidency of Manuel Montt (after whom the airport is named). The area known as the “Llanquihue Lake Colonisation Territory” was created by the government 1853, and the first 212 German families immigrated to what would be Puerto Varas. The first area settled was La Fabrica, where the road from Puerto Montt and the coast reached Llanquihue Lake.
Other landmarks include the opening of a Catholic church in 1872 and the founding of Deutscher Verein (German Club) in 1885. Puerto Varas is characterised by traditional German architecture, with houses built from alerce wood. It was designated a Zona Típica (heritage zone) in 1992 and has a number of protected buildings, including the wooden Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus Church), Verbo Divino, built in 1918 on the highest point in Puerto Varas, Casa Kuschel (1915) and Casa Yunge (1932). Cultural institutions include the Antonio Felmer Museum, Molino Machmar Art Centre, Nativo Bosque Gallery and the Pablo Fierro Museum. Puerto Varas is known for traditional German dishes, especially Kuchen, which is celebrated on the annual Kuchen Day (1st Sat of Feb). Craft beers, pastries, cakes, chocolate and marmalades can also be found in the town’s shops, restaurants and cafes. The urban circuit features countless buildings that still stand and were raised upon the arrival of the German immigrants in the area. It is through them that their culture may be interpreted. Several buildings that represent the architectural heritage of the city lie within a very close radio from the main square. They give evidence of the lifestyle of the first German and Chilean colonists who arrived on the shores of Lake Llanquihue in the mid 19th century. Back in those days, Puerto Varas was not even a village, as its denizens were scattered and with no possibilities of communication. Nevertheless, as a result of their hard work and effort, these settlements slowly developed and grew in spite of the scarce means. Houses were entirely built with Patagonian cypress wood, as access to the unspoilt forests was easy in the early twentieth century. Today, that species is protected by law. The colonists used tools they had brought from Europe. The Lutheran Church boasts its attributes on Vicente Pérez Rosales Waterfront. Built in 1923, it has a gable roof and a central tower that ends up in an octagonal tambour and eight-side spire. This is a place of worship for a large community even today.
The Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an architectural icon since 1918, is located at a high spot. It features a Romantic style with vertical lines that follow the Gothic style. Its inner covering and structure are made of wood, whereas the outside covering is made of undulated tin plates. It was built in 1915 and based on the Marienkirche in the Black Forest. For the best view of church-volcano-lake walk up to Cerro Calvario.
Kuschel House -built in 1915 on the way uphill towards Mount Philippi. It has two stories and a basement. Its structure has an oak framework with walls of horizontal boards and stone baseboards. It presents several roofs and a very original metallic dome. It gives evidence of the wealth of those days.
Yunge House, San Ignacio Street, dates from 1932. It has two stories and a central viewpoint over the access door, and a balcony overlooking the city. The ornaments on the eaves are Neo-Gothic. Another typical early 20th century house is Gotschlich. Its walls are covered with Patagonian cypress tiles.
Arturo Prat Station, on the corner of Nuestra Señora del Carmen Street and Miraflores Street. Many people consider that this is one of the most characteristic pieces of German architecture. In fact, every street in the city treasures samples of what used to be built in the early days of this town.

Around Lake Llanquihue. We grabbed a sandwich at Cafe Haussmann for lunch before being collected for a (rather disappointing) drive round Lake Llanquihue. Our first stop was Llanquihue town bridge where the Maullin river starts and a drive along the shore (Yan Kee Way), where we admired the carved statues. We then drove into the town itself to look at the recent wood carving competition.
From here it was a pretty drive along the lake edge through wooded areas and hamlets, with some beautiful German farmhouses that would not look out of place in the Black Forest. Some have been designated as national monuments, while others are still very much homes. On the outskirts of Frutillar we saw House Kloker, established by Tyrolean émigré Jakob Schonherr Kloker in 1860. He was assigned farm No 37b, and later farm no. 44, from where he founded the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lake Llanquihue. This, his town house, was built c1888. It includes towers, pinnacles, attics and cupolas in an eclectic mix of Neo-classical and neo-Gothic. The exterior cladding is native alerce wood (now no longer able to be used due to its scarcity, but very waterproof and weather resistant), with typical wood shingles. As usual, the joints are all wooden dowels, with no metal nails at all.

Once we arrived at Frutillar, we parked in the pretty Frutillar Bajo (Low Frutillar, on the shore) and went off by ourselves. As we’d only had a sandwich for lunch we went to Terraza Del Volcán to try their famous Kuchen, before a wander around the pretty and very Germanic town. We saw Casa Richter, Av Philippi 451, a neoclassical gem and now part of the Theatre and Arts school. It originally belonged to Carlos Richter Schultz who was one of the original 50 settlers. This house, built in 1895, was originally part of a large milk farm. After admiring the old buildings, we headed towards the lake and beach and its newest building, the Teatro del Lago.
Frutillar is known as the "City of Music". Exploring this region in 1842 Bernhard Eunom Philippi, an army officer, brought the idea to the Chilean government, under President Manuel Bulnes, that the Southern Region of Chile would be best developed by bringing German Settlers that were having a hard time in Germany with the industrial revolution and had plans to migrate to America. Settlers from Hamburg and other German cities arrived in 1852 at the port of Valdivia under the official colonisation program. Later president of Chile, Manuel Montt named Rosales as head of the German colonisation of Llanquihue 1856. Rosales changed the course of the incoming colonists to Lake Llanquihue. He reached the lake through the dense wild forest and climbed to Osorno Volcano where he saw the ships (chilotes) from Chiloe sailing in the inner waters of Puerto Montt. From then, the settlers came through Puerto Montt and travelled by land to Puerto Varas where other ships would sail the shores of lake Llanquihue to Frutillar and Puerto Octay. Bernardo Philippi "The water of this lake is as clear as that of Geneva in Switzerland..., it has the snowy Alps, the Andes Mountain." 1842 It took over 10 years to bring all the settlers from Germany to Chile and establish the first colonisation program in Lake Llanquihue. The colonisation proved to be a success, as the region developed agricultural and forestry with European technology. German schools proved to be the best in the Southern region of Chile. The German Museum and Teatro del Lago are today's main attractions in Frutillar. Teatro del Lago holds concerts all year round and is considered the largest in Chile and the best acoustic theatre in South America. Every year the musical festival conducts a continuous 2 week concert “Semanas Musicales” in the first week of February. It became a bit wetter and we retreated to the car, which now drove up to Frutillar Alto (High Frutillar), a much more utilitarian part of the town. Interestingly we passed the upper town house of the Richter family (to contrast with their nicer lower town house). To distinguish it from the other it is known as Casa Richter-Strauch. It is still in the Strauch family’s ownership as a summer retreat.

Continuing on round the lake we ended at Puerto Octay. The town, the oldest in the region, was established by German settlers in 1852 and until the railway arrived in 1912 was an important port. We drove to the old port, now being transformed into a marina and fishing centre. The whole town is very much 19th Century, and mostly built of wood. Important buildings include Casa Niklitschek (Strauch family), Hotel Haase, Wulf House, Colegio San Vicente de Paul and Haus Werner. Puerto Octay is now designated a national heritage town. There is only one shop, run by Cristino Ochs (whose family founded it over 100 years ago. In fact, Octay comes from “donde Ochs hay” or “you’ll find it where Ochs is”. Today there are only 3,000 residents in the quaint village. San Agustin Church was pretty, but the rain was increasing, so we didn’t stay long.
Casa Werner left- the first of the Werner family to arrive in Chile was Alfred Wörner, who changed his name to Werner. The first documented owner was Don Antonio Werner and the building dates c1910. At first it was residential, but due to the proximity to the pier also functioned as a lodging. It was a bakery from 1970 to 2000, when it became a house/ shop. Old German School below right: 348, Germán Wulf street is a wooden construction of traditional style, without ornamental details on its facade. Constructed c1900, the building was first a school, then a butcher's shop and now a guesthouse. Due to the change of uses and owners, it is possible to identify the modifications made through its history: the creation of a subway with perimeter concrete walls, which served as a cellar and slaughterhouse, the height of doors and windows were diminished (you can still see its original height), the wooden tiles on the left were replaced by zinc plates, and two rooms added to the second floor.

It was raining enough to take the quick way back to Puerto Varas, via the Panamerican Highway (South). Arriving back, we walked back into town to find a restaurant recommended to us, La Marca. As we hadn’t booked and it was supposedly very popular we went early, at 7pm. What a good thing! We had the last free table. The food, cooked on an open fire in the corner of the restaurant was delicious www.lamarca.cl.
Osorno Volcano is a 2,652m tall conical stratovolcano lying between Osorno and Llanquihue Provinces on the southeast shore of Llanquihue Lake. Osorno is a symbol of the local landscape, and noted for its similarity to Mt Fuji. Osorno is one of the most active volcanoes of the southern Chilean Andes, with 11 eruptions between 1575 and 1869. The basalt and andesite lava flows generated during these eruptions reached both Llanquihue and Todos los Santos Lakes. The upper slopes are almost entirely covered in glaciers despite the latitude and its modest altitude, sustained by snowfall in the very moist climate of the region. The cone of Osorno was constructed above a 250,000 year old eroded stratovolcano, La Picada, which has a mostly buried 6km wide caldera. The forest that protects its slopes houses a wide range of species; 200-1000 m above sea level has coihues and lengas. Above 800 m, is the most ancient species in the forest; the endangered Andean birch, 4,000-5,000 years old. Pudú deer, chingue (Patagonian skunk), culpeo (Patagonian fox), quique (a kind of ferret) and puma may be seen. The long-muzzled weasel, huet-huet, hummingbird, kestrel, tit-tyrant and woodpeckers take shelter in the humid forests. Between Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas is Volcan Calbuco, a 2,015m stratovolcano. Its last eruption was 2015, after a 40 year gap. Close to Osorno is Puntiagudo-Cordon Cenizos, a 2,493m volcano that lost its point (puntiagudo) in 1960.
Petrohué Waterfalls (Saltos del Petrohué) with Osorno volcano. Red Crater on Osorno slopes (a flank crater). Petrohué Waterfalls (Saltos del Petrohué) is a chute-type waterfall in the upper reach of Petrohué River. The waterfall is supported by basaltic lava (andesite) from Osorno Volcano. The average water flow is 270 m3 per sec, but can be much greater during the rainy season when Lake Todos los Santos rises by up to 3m. The water is usually clear with a green hue; however, occasionally, when lahars descending from the volcano are active, water can be loaded with sand and silt. Transport of these abrasive materials explains the polished aspect of the rocks. Lake Llanquihue is the second largest lake in Chile with an area of 860 sq km, in the southern Los Lagos Region in Llanquihue and Osorno provinces.
The lake's fan-like form was created by successive piedmont glaciers during the Quaternary glaciations. The last glacial period is called Llanquihue glaciation in Chile after the terminal moraine systems around the lake. The lake's views of Volcán Osorno make the surrounding cities such as Puerto Varas tourism hotspots.

Posted by PetersF 12:31 Archived in Chile Tagged volcano church lake chile puerto_varas puerto_octay germanic frutillas Comments (0)

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