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The Ancient Capitals of the Kingdom of Tonga

The Ancient Capitals of the Kingdom of Tonga is part of the Tentative List in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Click here for a short description of the site, as delivered by the State Party


Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
When I landed in Tonga I hitchhiked and local people drop me in Nukualofa, the capital of the country, where I found a free stay in the hall of the hotel Beach House, thanks to the benevolent receptionist.
I would stay one week in Tonga visiting on foot and hitchhiking to the most remarkable places of its main island, such as the Royal Palace and the archeological ruins.
While walking in the villages, I was surprised to remark that practically all the houses of Tonga had a patio with a cemetery. The tombs, rather sarcophaguses, were called Langi in the local language.
I was very interested in visiting the archipelago of Vavau, because the first westerners that saw those islands were Spaniards, commanded by the captain Francisco Antonio Mourelle, in 1781, but I had not enough money for the journey in boat, so I had to stay all my time in Tongatapu Island.
The last two nights I slept by the Ha’amonga Maui, a triliton of 12 tons, which is considered a mystery in Oceania.
The measures of that triliton are, approximated: 6 meters long, per 5 meters high, per 2 meters wide. It was erected during the XII or the XIII centuries and its purposes are considered to be astronomical, agricultural and for navigation, indicating the position of the sun and the stars.
I took off my lava-lava, a kind of skirt very popular and convenient dress used by men in hot Polynesian islands, and made a rope, thanks to which I could climb to the top of the triliton being very careful so as not to fall down. Once on the top I observed that, indeed, there were marks pointing the solstice direction. In fact the triliton had been erected observing the four cardinal points.
According to local people living by the triliton and who would give me a mattress to sleep better under the stars, that triliton marked the position of sunrise during the times of the solstices and equinoxes.
After one week in Tonga, I flew to Vanuatu.
Date posted: July 2013

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The Ancient Capitals of the Kingdom of Tonga
This site is part of the Tentative list of: Tonga

Site History:
2007 Tentative list
Submitted as tentative site by State Party

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