14. KASSARI CHAPEL
This little country chapel is believed to be the only thatched-roof church remaining in Estonia. It is unclear exactly when the chapel was built, the date that is on the outside next to the chapel door has been proved incorrect by recent research. Though this chapel is certainly not more than 200 years old, maps dating back to the 1500's indicate that there was a church on this spot. In the past, residents of Kassari had to travel through the shallow water to Pühalepa church for services. This was very inconvenient and even a little dangerous so residents asked that a country chapel be built which would remain under the control of Pühalepa parish. The cemetery surrounding the church has a naturally beautiful landscape and some of the graves are marked with old-style iron crosses, the oldest of which are thought to be almost 200 years old. Some of the stone markers are even older. The chapel does not have regularly scheduled church services anymore but it is still used for weddings, funerals and holiday services.
- Now, take the gravel road back to the paved highway and turn right. After about 4 kilometers you will come to a "T" intersection where you will need to turn left towards Käina. Near this intersection is an old wool mill which is still operating. It is possible to buy wool yarn made on the 100 year-old machines and there are also sweaters made in Hiiumaa on sale.
As you leave Kassari, you can get a good look at Käina bay on the left. It is a protected bird sanctuary and most likely you will see swans on the water. Hiiumaa lies along important bird migration routes and in the fall and spring thousands of geese, ducks, cranes and swans stop here.
- After you make the left turn towards Käina, watch for the gas station on the left after about two kilometers. Turn left at the major intersection where the gas station is located. This intersection is quite well marked. If you then go about one kilometer, the Käina church ruins will be on the right.