Rano Kau, home of the Birdman cult
Rano Kau, 324 m high, is one of the main volcano in Rapa Nui. It is well known as the site of the birdman cult, which started in the 17th century and stopped at the end of the 19th century.
Fights against the different castes led to this competition to determine the leadership of the island.
Each year, a man from every caste had to scale down the dangerous vertical slopes, then swim to one of the three tiny islands in a shark infested ocean to get an egg from the frigate bird. The first man to bring back an unbroken egg, after climbing the cliff, was considered as the Birdman. Honors and privileges as food and gifts were given to this new hero of the island.
This race was really dangerous and many pretenders died, as the cliffs of the volcano are very sharped and the water was full of sharks.