Saaremaa stone wall sold off by the meter to raise restoration funds

Rocks in Lümanda, Saaremaa
Rocks in Lümanda, Saaremaa Source: ERR

Sometimes you just need a good idea and a clever marketing ploy to get a business off the ground. Thanks to one such ingenious scheme, 116 meters of dry stone wall surrounding a garden in Lümanda, Saaremaa have been restored.

There is something special about the dry stone wall in the center of Lümanda, Saaremaa: every single meter has a different owner.

The unique project was the brainchild of Lümanda Mayor Anni Roost, who was keen to restore the wall in the heart of the village, but was unable to find the funding. Not to be deterred, Roost hit upon the idea of selling off part of the, at that stage still non-existent, dry stone wall, meter by meter.

"The thing I was most afraid of at first was, that no one would go along with the madness," said Roost.

"But, as you can see, over 90 different families, farms, groups and societies did get involved. They all went along with it, and there are even some who missed out on the chance to get their own meters," she explained.

With demand for sections of the wall reaching unprecedented levels, it was not only locals or even Estonians who wanted a piece of the action.

"The buyer from furthest away comes from the USA and we even had a Scotsman pay for a meter. A lot of the owners come from outside, it's not just our own people," said Roost.

And when there was no more wall left to sell, some people even wanted to buy sections from each other.

"Yes, there was a young man who wrote asking if there were any meters left, and that he was willing to buy them from someone else at a higher price. So, in that respect things went completely crazy in the end," said Roost.

Local Janne Raun, who owns several meters of the wall, told ERR, that she did have a bigger share at first, but agreed to sell off some of her sections so that others could get involved.

"We owned more (sections) in the beginning, but because a lot of people were missing out (on the chance to buy meters), we told Ann that she could sell a few (of our) meters off, because the bill only came at the end. At the beginning we had more, but now we have three (meters)," said Raun.

Not content with simply owning sections of the wall, the enthusiastic owners are letting their imaginations run wild, with many wanting to decorate their meter-long sections specially for Christmas.

"If the idea takes hold, it could become something quite beautiful by Christmas," said Roost.

"If we take a personal approach to it and people still get their own meter (of wall), they can go there to see their stones, (and maybe) they can bring flowers and put lights there," she said.

With the almost 170-meter-long wall likely to need further restoration work in the future, the Lümanda Mayor has certainly not ruled out the possibility of the stones being put up for sale once more, meter by meter.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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