Story and Photos by Facimerie Ioanis (Laylay)
Legends and Story of Nan Madol
There have been many stories of Nan Madol that I have heard. What I truly believe in is the story of two brothers, Olosohpa and Olosihpa. It was said that these two brothers arrived from Yap and settled in Sokehs. They wanted to build a place for worshiping their gods. At first, Sokehs was where they attempted to build Nan Madol but they failed. So in Uh, they tried and it failed again. Then, they climbed a mountain and from there they saw a suitable place and planned on building it there at Madolenihmw.
At last, they forced people to help build Nan Madol in Madolenihmw at the open sea. They used their magic powers to fly the rocks from Sokehs to Madolenihmw. For years, they had been working on the project. I am not sure if this is how they truly built Nan Madol because there have been rumors that Europeans found iron at Nan Madol when they arrived here in Pohnpei.
Nan Madol is a mysterious place.
No one knows the true story of that place. Nan Madol is sacred and there are spirits living among that place. If you disrespect it, you’ll end up getting sick or worse, die. Every time you do something or cross over something, you must say, “Ihieng”. That is how you show respect to that place.
Everything at Nan Madol is surprising to me, especially how the rocks got there and how it was being built by just two brothers and the help of the people. I believe that not even a giant could roll the rocks.
The hole at the back and the place where prisoners are also surprises for me (see image below). It’s like there was a tunnel in there. As we crossed the sea to go to take a look at the other side, the red sand caught my eye. I was surprised to see different colored sand.
Nan Madol holds lots of interesting and surprising structures. As I mentioned before, if only I had the chance to visit all the islets, I bet there will be more mysterious surprises of Nan Madol.
Trip to Nan Madol
On our way to Nan Madol, I had a feeling that I have never felt before. I was excited and scared at the same time. It was my first time to see Nan Madol and was really curious about it. When we got there, I had many questions I wanted to ask. “How did these rocks get here?” was one of the questions I was really curious about.
The place was amazing. To me, it felt like I was in wonderland. I have never seen such a beautiful place like Nan Madol and such heavy long rocks piled up neatly. I’m happy that I got to take pictures of unbelievable structures so I could share with the people around me of how inspiring Nan Madol is. Amazingly, I had the chance to cross the sea since it was shallow and went over to the other side to see for myself the so-called red sand. It was kind of red but now really red.
If only I had the chance to visit all 92 islets, I would have done so. Nan Madol is just the perfect place to visit and take pictures. I am so in love with that place.
Importance of Nan Madol to me as a Pohnpeian
When I was a kid I didn’t know what Nan Madol was and didn’t think it was that important to me. But as years passed and I got to learn more about Nan Madol, I found it really interesting and important. To me as a Pohnpeian, Nan Madol is very important because it holds an important story of our ancestors and their hard work and the sadness they went through because they were being forced to build Nan Madol. What happened during that period of time has made us what we have become today. It teaches us how to be respectful.
“Respect and you will be respected.”