Station: [23] The sacred island

  • Oldenburger Wallmuseum

From the village square you have an excellent view towards our ‚Sacred island‘.

It shows a reconstruction of a Slavic ritual place in the 10th century. The altar is a copy of the construction found in the Oldenburg ring fort. One special feature is the enclosure comprising wooden head deals, planks, fitted with stylized heads at their ends. The temple in the Slavic settlement Groß Raden in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern originating from the 9th to 10th century was used as a model here. Such stylized human figures were also carried around for personal use as small so-called pocket gods.

Priests were the mediators between humans and celestial powers. They executed public rites of sacrifice in temples and ritual places. As a reward for the sacrifices, the people hoped the gods would ensure the well-being of the community.

Horses were sacrificed to the gods. Priests handed the heads and legs of the animals to the gods. The rest was eaten by the community in communion with the gods at a ritual feast.

Wine was also used as a sacrificial offering to the gods. The Priest hung a large drinking horn over the graven image, filled with wine, and months later forecast the success of the coming harvest by way of the condition of the liquid.

Ritual places were sacred for the Slavs. Only priests were allowed to enter them. If an enemy managed to flee to this sanctuary, it was not allowed to pursue him there. In order to ensure the sacred area was not contaminated by human breath, Priests were not allowed to breathe within the fencing.

Now, please turn to our harbor setting with the two ships.