The mysterious carved stone statues, moai, of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) continue to inspire awe. Photo by Simon Fotherby.

The famous stone heads positioned on the slope of Rano Raraku volcano on Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island, it’s European-given name) continue to inspire awe and wonder.

Called moai, about 600 to 1000 of these mysterious human-faced statues are found ringing almost the entire coast of the tiny island. All have their backs to the ocean, facing inwards to apparently watch over the village. It’s thought the statues represent ancestors, or past rulers, who use their mana (spiritual power) to protect the tribe.

Interestingly, though the majority of the moai are male representations, about twelve moai are female with pronounced breasts or sculpted vulvas.

Carved between 1,250 and 1,500AD, the famous carvings are up to 30 feet tall and 80 tons in weight. How some of them were moved is one of the biggest mysteries of the moai.

Rapa Nui is the most isolated inhabited landmass on Earth. Lonely Planet calls it “a remote enigma”.

Holiday Goddess Postcard by Tamara Pitelen. Photo by Simon Fotherby. Would you like to contribute to Holiday Goddess Postcards? Follow Holiday Goddess on Twitter to find out more. We’re hiring!

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