CONTRACT STONES AND OTIMÄE STONE BURIAL PLACE
about 5 km from theHeltermaa harbour, until you reach a point where the road
splits in two. Take the direction to Kärdla (to the right), but don’t hurry.
In a couple hundred meters there is a sign, "Põhilise (Põlise) leppe kivid
0,2 km" (Contract stones).
A gravel road leads you to the stones from the main road. But you can also park your car by the highway and walk.
Photo: Hanno Luukas
At the first glimpse you can see only a big pile of boulders. Human beings could surely not have done this work without any help. It looks like Hiiumaa's Stonehenge. Who did it? When? Why? We don't have exact answers, only opinions and legends.
Most often it is considered to be an ancient sacred grove, a place to conclude
important agreements, confer with God - a profoundly holy place. The first Christian
churches were built near such places, like our next object in the tour, the
Pühalepa church. The people of Hiiumaa believe that the pile of boulders mark
the grave of a Northern king named Ingvar. Ingvar fell in a battle in Estonia
around 600 BC and he was buried in a place containing the word Stone in its name.
Legends and stories
Older people say that in olden times, sailors brought lucky stones to this place before dangerous voyages, to ensure safe return.
Another, apocryphal story holds that one of the wealthiest landlords on the island, O. R. L. von Ungern-Sternberg (1744–1811), decided to build a replica of an Egyptian pyramid here.
Notice how a square-shaped area has been cleared, in some places even clearly delineated. Realists stick to the version that these rocks must have been collected from the manor fields during a compulsory working period when additional grain was needed in years of hunger.
Some people associate the pile with contrition stones that were brought together by people punished by the church; while others consider it to be a megalith used as a celestial map in the Bronze Age – much like Stonehenge in England.
In any event, it is wise to take in the sight of this giant work, to think of history’s twists, or at least study how humble plants eke out an existence on this limestone ground.
You will immediately see a lonely rock ("Vanapaganakivi" – Old Heathen Stone), that according to the legend bears the markings of Old Nick's cloven foot. Older people say that he tried to keep Pühalepa church from being built with that stone.