Orissaare Oak – Orissaare, Estonia - Atlas Obscura

Orissaare Oak

Orissaare, Estonia

Legend has it that not even Stalin could pull down the 2015 European Tree of the Year. 


This Estonian oak has stood for 150 years but it is receiving some major attention now that it stands in the middle of a football pitch which earned it the honor of being the 2015 European Tree of the Year and supposedly it survived Stalin’s attempt to tear it down. 

The shady oak that stands in the center of the Estonian parish of Orissaare is not the oldest tree in the area or even the largest but it may be the strongest, and is clearly the most beloved. The tree has not moved from its spot in over a century but the grounds around it have shifted leaving the tall arbor smack in the middle of the local football (European, not American) field. Under Stalin’s regime the tree was nearly torn out of the ground to create the pitch, but after cables were wrapped around the trunk, it refused to budge despite the cords biting into the bark. Supposedly the marks from the cables can still be seen.

Today the tree still stands in the middle of the field, but instead of seeing it as a nuisance or an obstacle, the locals have embraced the plant, using it as a part of their games or just relaxing beneath its shady branches. The tree is so loved that it won the 2015 European Tree of the Year with a staggering 60,000 votes. Some politicians don’t even get that many votes.  

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