The Stone Circles at Odry – Odry, Poland - Atlas Obscura
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Odry, Poland

The Stone Circles at Odry

Deep in a Polish forest, this collection of Iron Age megaliths still holds onto many of its ancient secrets. 

Stone circles appear throughout history and across many cultures, including these in Portugal, Ethiopia, the Golan Heights, and even Massachusetts. Some of the more obscure, and least understood, are the Stone Circles at Odry in central Poland.

Often called the “Polish Stonehenge,” this vestige of the Iron Age is shrouded in legend, with a healthy sprinkle of mysticism. Dating to the time of the Goths (the first or second century A.D.), the 40-acre site is comprised of 12 circles, each with a large stone at the center called a stelae that is ringed by 16 to 29 boulders. Scattered between and around the circles are over 600 small burial mounds called barrows, each believed to contain the skeletal remains of between one and three people.

Europe’s second largest collection of circles left nearly intact, Odry’s relatively undisturbed condition is perhaps attributable to hundreds of years of avoidance by locals, who have been warded off by tales of magic, witchcraft and evil lurking in the surrounding forest.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries archeologists began studying the formations, looking for clues of their exact origin and purpose. Early theories revolved around some kind of calendar or astronomical configuration, but these have been mostly debunked as the area has undergone more rigorous study.

They do hold mystery for many visitors, some who report a flowing sense of calm and positive energy, relaxing to the mind and body. It’s also become a favorite spot for dowsers and diviners, and some claim that by standing or sitting within the circles, ailments such as headaches and fatigue can be healed.

OK, so they may or may not spell relief to your migraine or help you with your dowsing practice, but research to explain both their origin story and their transcendent quality is ongoing, and recent satellite imagery suggests there may be more circles, barrows, and ancient clues yet to find. They’re just waiting to be unearthed.

Know Before You Go

Odry is a small village about 90km (about 55 miles) southwest of Gdansk, easiest to get to by car. Once there, there are well-placed signs to guide you to the Stone Circles. From the church at the center of the village, head east on Księdza Juliana Zawadzińskiego toward Długa for 550 meters (about a third of a mile) and turn left onto the dirt road (there is a sign that says "Kamienne Kręgi", which means "stone circles" in Polish). Follow for 2.1km (about 1.3 miles) and the entrance is on your right. The fee for entry is less than $2.00 USD. The site is open every day except Mondays.