In ancient times, people of power realized massive constructions purely by exploiting their incredible divine power: they just told their underlings to organize, by forcing ordinary people and slaves to erect a colossal monument, say, a pyramid. And they did not overemphasize the fact that sometimes thousands of people died because of an almost inhuman effort. They knew that a pyramid or some other kind of monument, a temple, for example, had to be made for it was a word of God. These kinds of edifices remain to this day, not only admirable but also somewhat dark and morbid objects of culture and history. There is nothing very much actually to do in these places anymore, but these places still tell so much about the ancient past of humanity.
Today we have another problem: no-one will think of forcing people to die constructing some monumental complex, and neither does any decent person want people to die of polluted environment.
In Aidu in North-Eastern Estonia, we witness a complex and simple situation where the in-built human drive to create something monumental, almost divine, comes together with natural, almost inevitable resources from Earth’s ground. In here lies a vast area of oil shale mines, set to produce just enough natural waste-material to create an architectural environment instead of just piling the mass of Earth up on a high stack. The excavating will continue for precisely 20 years during which time it is possible to found this large Aidu Pyramid ground, housing endless different activities from restaurants, beaches, museums, places for sports activities to vine cellars and graveyards. And the best thing is that no human has to sacrifice a life for a monumental outcome. Aidu oil shale mine’s waste-material will be arranged in a way to give something back to people. Also reminding at the same time ancient times and giving a very remote place like Aidu a fair chance to become a real part of Estonia again. An area, which people can visit with enjoyment, not just abandon it after decades of exploitation, excavating oil shale for electricity.
Text by Urmas Oja