The Enigma Of Nan Madol: Home of Pre-Flood Stone Gods

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Nan Madol ruins on Pohnpei island. ( CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Enigma Of Nan Madol: Home of Pre-Flood Stone Gods

Nan Madol is a mysterious place, there is nothing like it the world over. Its people are vanished and its purpose spectacularly obscure. Was it built by the mythical brothers Olishipa and Olosohpa, in honor of the god of thunder Daukatau, or to commemorate the sunken cities off the coast?

Known traditionally as Soun Nan-leng (‘Reef of Heaven’), Nan Madol is a megalithic complex made up of over 90 man-made islets built on coral fill and spread 200 acres over a lagoon edging Pohnpei’s surrounding barrier reef. Pohnpei (formerly Ponape) is the third-largest member of the Federated States of Micronesia, a spray of over 600 islands so-named after their minuscule size. Pohnpei is a compound meaning ‘upon an altar’, in reference to a cloud-capped mountain at the island’s center: at its summit is a basalt altar and a mangrove tree which symbolically represents the birth of the isle from its ocean bed. Nan Madol, popularly referred to as the ‘Venice of the Pacific’ perches upon the southeastern coastline of Pohnpei. Nan Madol means ‘spaces between’.

Map of Nan Madol.  Federated States of Micronesia (Public Domain)

Map of Nan Madol.  Federated States of Micronesia (Public Domain)


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