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First visited by Europeans in 1722, the magnificent yet remote Easter Island – so named by a Dutch Explorer who first set eyes on it on Easter Sunday – has been inhabited for thousands of years by Polynesians. Despite being more than 3,500 kilometers away from mainland Chile, this fascinating island with its remarkable stone sculptures remains the country's most recognizable attraction.
All told, 887 of these statues, known as Moai – created by the island's early Rapa Nui population – have been identified, most of them now protected by Rapa Nui National Park (the island itself has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The most impressive collection is at Ahu Tongariki where 15 of them have been re-erected on the island's largest Moai platform, or "ahu."