Hiva Oa

Hiva Oa



Hiva Oa, known as the "Garden of the Marquesas," is located 875 mi/1,400 km northeast of Tahiti. It is an island rich in archaeological sites and lined with black-sand beaches. Five huge stone tiki are in Puamau village, a steep 19 mi/30 km drive across the island from Atuona, Hiva Oa's main town.

As interesting as these ancient sites are, Hiva Oa is probably better known for the two famous Europeans who lived there. Artist Paul Gauguin spent the last years of his life on Hiva Oa and died there in 1903. A small but very modern Paul Gauguin Cultural Center is in the main village of Atuona. It includes a replica of his house. Next door is the Jacques Brel Cultural Center.

Both men are buried in the local cemetery overlooking Atuona, and a monument to Brel stands on a remote hilltop northeast of the village.

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