Cultural heritage

The specificity of Vormsi is the insular remoteness and the cultural heritage characteristic to a former habitat of coastal Swedes.

Vormsi has been an indigenous habitat of coastal Swedes. The initial building time of the central historical monument of the island, St. Olaf’s church, is not known. The original wooden church received a gothic sanctuary with beautiful ceiling paintings in the 13th century. A baroque nave with wooden pillars and a beam ceiling was built in the 17th century above the wooden church that had been lost by that time. In the churchyard, there is a monument dedicated to the missionary Österblom and a memorial stone erected for the elder of coastal Swedes, Hans Pöhl.

There is a cemetery by the church with one of the largest sun cross collections in the world – Vormsi cemetery. To date, over 330 sun crosses have been preserved in the cemetery, oldest of them originating from the 17th century. Professional stonemasons did not make the crosses, only peasants trimmed them from slate. The Pears Farm Museum in the village of Sviby gives an overview of the onetime living conditions of coastal Swedes. The ruins of Suuremõisa manor recall the historical period that is characterised by numerous trials between the free Swedish peasants and the estate owners of Vormsi. The Saxby lighthouse on the western coast of Vormsi that is the highest on the island was built in 1864. It is open to the public and it offers a wonderful view of the coast across the island.