'Ārahurahu Marae

Pā'ea, French Polynesia

Life across Polynesia was once defined by ritual power. In many places, chiefs were too sacred to actually look at, and if you helped bury a chief, you’d not be allowed to utilize your hands for nine months or more. The 'Ārahurahu Marae, a sacred structure of black stone, was built solely for rituals. Nicely restored, the 'Ārahurahu is set at the foot of a cliff, surrounded by jungle. A trail lined with tikis leads to the three-story marae, which is still in use, revived as part of the Polynesian Renaissance. The marae is worth a visit: Soak up the place to get a feel for a time when this was the island’s heartbeat.

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Discover Tahiti's Marae

Ancient Polynesians built temples, known as marae, as places to worship their gods. Comprised of various stone and block structures, these religious sites are found on most of the Islands of Tahiti. In Tahiti itself, you’ll fine four different marae sites, including Arahurahu at PK 22.5, which is a restored construction of dry stones. Beyond acting as a place of worship in ancient culture, this particular marae was used for important events from war councils to weddings to celebrating battle victories.

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