The Arahurahu marae, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Oceania (check out this map). 

Arahurahu is the only marae in all of Polynesia to have been fully restored, and is Tahiti’s best example of an ancient Polynesian temple and meeting place. During the July Heiva Nui celebrations Arahurahu is used for the reenactment of old Polynesian ceremonies. The stone pens near the entrance were once used to hold sacrificial pigs.

Here’s a useful segment from C. Lemoy’s 2011 publication Across the Pacific: From Ancient Asia to Precolombian America:

Ceremonial or religious centers (marae) were privileged places for the community and sacred sites that shared a common architectural model. Imposing structures were built by layering several plateaus, gradually forming a pyramid. The polynesians left vestiges on various islands, like the “Marae Arahurahu” or “Temple of Ashes” in Tahiti.

Its entry is guarded by demons, stone constructions or “Ahu”, and enigmatic statues or “Tikis”, anthropomorphic images of the creator or deified ancestor, having big eyes, thick lips and wide noses.

The ethnologist and Norwegian navigator Thor Heyerdahl highlighted astonishing similarities between Polynesian constructions and some dedicated to pre-Columbian gods.

Photos courtesy & taken by Pierre Lesage.