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Hiiu Parish, Estonia

Hill of Crosses (Estonia)

This small Estonian hill is covered in hand-made twig crosses that are said to bring good luck. 

The hill of crosses in Hiiumaa is surely not as big and extensive as the similar hill in Lithuania but its smaller, more personal natural make it all the more haunting.

Located atop a small Estonian hill on the border of the parishes of Reigi and Puhalepa, the this cross garden has hundreds and hundreds of small, simple hand-made crosses scattered around a forested area. According to the informational sign on the site, the crosses began appearing on the hill as a memorial to a group of Swedes living on the island of Hiiumaa, who were forced to relocate to Ukraine in the late 1700s. Although this is not the only version of the cross history.

Another tale says that a pair of rival wedding parties bumped into each other on this trail, and a fight broke out when neither would make way for the other. One side lost their bride, and the other lost their groom, so the remaining singles married each other. Thus the legend was born that not only will planting a cross on the site bring good luck, but it can also inspire a lasting partnership. 

Visitors are welcome to add their own crosses when they visit the hill. The cross should be made out of natural material one can find nearby without harming the vegetation. People usually tie together two small tree branches using bark or hay and leave the cross to lie around in the forest. Although these crosses may not last for very long there is no need to fear that the hill will run empty, because the next visitors will simply add their own crosses to this ever growing mass of memorial twigs and sticks.

Know Before You Go

Hill of Crosses is about 6 km from Kärdla, the main administrative centre of Hiiumaa. It is well marked and easy to find from the road.