Visit Estonia’s Hill of Crosses for a Bit of Swedish Luck
“Sometimes dead is better.”
Does this quote ring a bell? It’s perhaps one of the most terrifying quotes from a horror movie, if not any movie. And, of course, it’s by the master of horror himself, Stephen King. Pet Semetary was made into a movie, the last one having been released just this past year. And while a third round might be worthy of serious consideration, it’s not quite time.
But if you have an idea for something just as campy and creepy, there is a location in Estonia that would fit that story beautifully (and yes… there is a lot of beauty in the horror genre).
Or any story, for that matter.
Welcome the Hill of Crosses, a picturesque yet somewhat grim place in Hiiumaa, the second-largest Estonian island. It’s located atop a small hill, covered with hundreds and hundreds of small handmade crosses.
The hill’s history is not only interesting, but not quite as dark as you may first assume.
The history of the Hill of Crosses is related to the expulsion Swedes in August 1781. Catherine the Great, the Empress of Russia, signed an order that allowed the Swedes to resettle in South Ukraine. The Swedes, living around that area at the time, gathered on the Hill of Crosses for one last church service, to say goodbye to a place they and their ancestors had considered their home for almost 500 years.
Today, visitors make and plant their own crosses in commemoration of this history. All of the crosses are handmade from natural material gathered from the local forest, with the rule being that making the crosses should not harm the surrounding vegetation.
The Hill of Crosses is situated about 4 miles from Kärdla, the main administrative center of the island. Kärdla is reachable by a ferry from mainland Estonia. So yes, there’s some distance from the island, which can cause a feeling of isolation… another crucial component of a perfect horror flick.
And there’s one more interesting point: the place is actually supposed to be “good luck” to visit…so perhaps a bit of that luck will rub off on your next round of movie-making?
Does all of this sound peaceful, fascinating, or a little eerie? Well, wait until you see how versatile all of Estonia is for whatever kind of vibe your film requires! If you’re thinking of bringing your own version of Pet Sematary or any other movie production to Estonia, you should know that filming here comes with some serious perks, like a cash rebate of up to 30% off. You can consider this our welcome gift to you!
And while you’re here, you can take the opportunity to explore a whole variety of unique location settings, all for a fraction of the cost of filming in most other EU countries.