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MPs Establish Sacred Grounds Conservation Group

Source: Photo: Courtesy of the Heritage Board

On May 2, Parliament established a group to support sacred natural grounds and draw attention to the difficult situation around ancestral gathering places across Estonia.

The 17-member group, lead by Chairman of the Committee on Environment Tõnis Lukas, was created in response to the unfortunate incident on April 2, when a company named Eremka began clearcutting an ancient grove located in the town of Maardu in Harju County. 

According to Lukas, there are around 2,500 historical places of worship found in Estonia and their protection has often been left between the competence areas of the National Heritage Board and the Environmental Board. This has created an administrative gap whereby no one is held responsible for preserving the historically holy places from destruction.

"We don't have to stop human activity at every sacred stone and wellspring but understanding of the role of holy groves as a link with our origins will portray our sense of culture," Lukas said.

The parliamentary lobby is also planning to cooperate with Maavalla Koda, an activist group that deals with preserving native Estonian heritage and has over the past few years systematically mapped the largest ancient holy grounds in the country.


Ingrid Teesalu

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