Story and images by Gordon Herbert
Many years ago, there were two brothers who came to Pohnpei on a mission. They came to Pohnpei Island, because they were looking for a successful place where they can build a worshiping place. These two brothers were Olosohpa and Olosihpa. They had a hard time looking for a good spot to build the place for worshiping. They had tried in different places, but it did not work very well, because of many reasons. These places were either muddy, windy, or rough.
Finally, they came to a better place in Madolenihmw called Temwen and they started to build the worship site there. It was a hard task to gather the huge rocks to build that place. These rocks are like one feet wide and 12 feet longer. Eventually, they built the worshiping place and they called it Nan Madol.
Nanmadol composed of many islets, but most people only know about few of them. In the middle or the center of Nan Madol stood a place was called Nan Douwas. On the right and the left side of Nan Douwas was called Pohn Douwas. In the front of Nan Douwas called Dahu. On the northwest of Nan Madol was called Keirahn. Pahnkedira lies on the west of Nan Madol and it was created for men only. Finally, there was a meeting place called Nan Koapwoarmen where all people of Nan Madol used to go to share their information.
Olosihpa died right after they had finished building Nanmadol and Olosohpa became the first Saudeleur of Pohnpei. Olosohpa became the leader of Pohnpei and the ruler of Nan Madol. When he died, there was said to be 15 Saudeleurs ruling Pohnpei after him, but no one really knows much about these Saudeleur.
In the years 1436 to 1461, there was one Saudeleur who ruled Pohnpei and treated the Pohnpeian people unfair. This Saudeleur was greedy and he was rude as well. One day there was a group of soldiers from Kataupeidak and there was one man who led these soldiers called Isokelekel. They came to Nan Madol and had a war with the last Saudeleur. In the end, Isokelelkel conquered Nan Madol and defeated the Saudeleur. At that time, Isokelekel became the first King (Nahnmwarki) of Pohnpei and he treated his people nice and fair. Years later Isokelekel divided Pohnpei into 3 municipalities, which include Madolenihmw, Uh, and Kitti.
As a Pohnpeian, Nan Madol is a very crucial place for me, because it is special, beautiful, and sacred. Nan Madol is so special partly because it has many Islets on its surroundings. These islets are very beautiful and there is a meaning for each one.
The beauty of Nanmadol came from the creation of Olosohpa and Olosihpa but the islets show the beauty of Nan Madol as well. Nan Madol became a sacred place right after when all of the Saudeleurs and all of the Kings (Nahnmwarki) had died. The spirits of the dead became the guardians of Nan Madol, so people need to show respect when they come have a vacation to this important place in Pohnpei.