The prominent features of Easter Islandís iconic Moai carvings are prominently featured on any list of Earthís archaeological mysteries. Easter island is 2000 miles from any other landmass, and its remote location was no doubt a factor in the development of an isolated culture that is unique in all the world.
The islandís volcanic origins provided the people of Easter Islandís ancient civilization with plenty of raw materials from which to form their massive statues. But how and why these structures were created remains as much of a topic of debate as does the identity of their creators. The island is named for the date the first European landed here, Easter day, 1722, but the natives call the island Rapa Nui. The only village on Easter Island today is Hanga Roa, where descendents of the original people still live. The island can be explored by foot or on horseback, and each set of ruins has its own unique features. Some sites have been meticulously reconstructed by archaeologists who restored the toppled Moai to their original positions. One can also take a trip to the rim of the islandís extinct volcano, or take a dip in the Pacific on one of the beaches that fringe the island.