Venice of the Pacific

Story and Images by Donna Gallen


My Message to Friends/Family and Pohnpeians

Through life, there must be things that prove to us Pohnpeians that we still have the strength and hope to overcome the challenges we face.

“Nan Madol is the point of intersection between heaven & Earth”

A place to gather food

A place to gather food

Nan Madol is a mighty ancient dynasty that once existed and it is now regarded as a sacred place and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It will be up to us Pohnpeians to model respect for our sacred places and culture to other foreigners so they can demonstrate the same respect to our sacred places whenever they visit. It is our responsibility to value Nan Madol because we are the ones that other people will yell at if something goes wrong! And definitely we Pohnpeians don’t want that!


This was my second trip to Nan Madol. It was windy and the sounds of the birds made me realize how welcome we were.

Place to gather food

Place to gather food

Nan Madol has changed a little since my last visit — people constructed wooden bridges. Now it is safe to cross the rivers.

New wood bridges

New wood bridges

Along the way, I learned a lot and experienced a lot! My trip was awesome, I still can’t get the sound of the waves out of my head. Its like crossing the Pacific Ocean!

Eastern wall of Nan Dowas

Eastern wall of Nan Dowas

Lots of things that surprised me about Nan Madol but there were main two things that surprised me most during my trip. First of all, I was really shocked to see red sand there. I’ve never heard about any “red sand” being on this island before.



This trip was very interesting to me and being there for the second time really helped me a lot. I got the chance to discover new elements and places that been a deep foothold for Pohnpeians for centuries.

Importance of Nan Madol to me as a Pohnpeian

Nan Madol is a very sacred place on Pohnpei. It is very important to me as a Pohnpeian to have knowledge about this place because it is becoming more and more popular everyday of each year.


Knowing the aspects of Nan Madol is important information for a Pohnpeian when somebody asks you: “How much to you know about this place?” As a Pohnpeian, it helps if I happen to know lots of knowledge about this place! Knowing Nan Madol history is like knowing my own culture.

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