Nan Madol

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Photo: CT Snow

Location: Pohnpei, U.S. Micronesia

Official Listing: U.S. National Historic Landmark, nominated to the World Heritage list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee

Who Considers it Sacred? Pacific Islanders

Photo: CT Snow

Significance: Place where, according to Pohnpeian islanders, the “honored spirit of the land” is worshipped. Nan Madol was built over the 1000-year period between 500 and 1500 A.D., with basalt stones weighing many tons each. Since that time, it has been an important ritual center, with local priests performing annual ceremonies there.

The Threat: Excessive tourism

Preservation Status: Encroaching vegetation and destabilization threatens the walls of Nan Madol; tourism is also taking its toll. Nan Madol was named a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1986; it has also been nominated to the World Heritage list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee. A Nan Madol Foundation has also been formed to protect the place.

For More Information: Site Saver Newsletter, Volume III, Number 1, Fall 1992

Photo: CT Snow

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