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Heritage Board Says Protection for Ancient Grove Sufficient

An ancient pagan tradition alive: an offering of a rag in a sacred grove
An ancient pagan tradition alive: an offering of a rag in a sacred grove Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The National Heritage Board has turned down a request to increase the amount of protected land around a pre-Christian sacred grove and archeological site.

The Board said after reviewing expert opinions that it would not be justified to satisfy a May 2011 request to increase the size of the site in Jõelähtme municipality east of Tallinn to 75 hectares.

The area known as the Maardu grove had become a cause celebre after a case of clear-cutting occurred within the area in April. At that time, the Fund for Nature criticized the government for handing out public land use rights to private entities without proper protection measures in place, and launched a petition in cooperation with another group to expand protection.

The Heritage Board declared a six-month moratorium on any development or other activity that could change the nature of the site.

In its January 17 statement, the Heritage Board said the proposal to expand protection was based on the place name and oral history.

And, said the Heritage Board, the area is on the Rebala heritage site as it is, which provides for the preservation of the agricultural landscape of antiquity.

It noted the grove is 6.2 hectares and is surrounded by a 50 m protection zone, which brings the total area to effectively over 12 hectares.

Kristopher Rikken

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