The name Nan Madol means “spaces between” and refers to the canals that criss-cross the ruins. However, its traditional name was Soun Nan-leng (Reef of Heaven), according to Gene Ashby in his book Pohnpei, An Island Argosy. The megalithic city of Nan Madol lies on the eastern shore of the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia, and was the ritual and ceremonial center for the ruling chiefs of the Saudeleur dynasty. Consisting of a series of artificial islets (small islands) linked by a network of canals, Nan Madol is often called the “Venice of the Pacific.” The islets were constructed by placing large rocks and fill atop submerged coral reefs to form raised platforms, which supported elaborate residential and ceremonial complexes. The complexes were built primarily from columnar basalt, a volcanic rock that breaks naturally to form massive rodlike blocks that make an ideal building material.

Nan Madol
Lost City Nan Madol
Protecting the legacy of Nan Madol