Easter Island: Moai Photograph by Jim Richardson, National Geographic
Easter Island is set apart by the wondrous stone statues, called moai, that silently watch over the island’s serene landscape. They were carved from locally quarried tufa—a soft volcanic stone—between 800 and 1722, when a Dutch explorer discovered the island. The average moai is 14 feet (4 meters) tall and weighs ten tons.
Excerpt from “50 Places of a Lifetime” in the October 2009 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine