5. Maardu (Maart)
Jacob Staël von Holstein, 1660s; 18th & 19th centuries
The Maardu Manor is first mentioned in 1397. The main building as we see it today was built at the time when it was owned by the Fersen family. Its architect – Jacob Staël von Holstein – is known as the author of a number of palaces in Tallinn, including the Rosen Palace on Pikk Street 28 (today the Embassy of Sweden).
The building is a notable example of Palladian architecture in Estonia. It also shows some influence of contemporary Dutch architecture. It was similar to the Palmse and Aa manors, but unlike these it survived the Great Northern War . Some elements – such as the lower wings and the façade decoration – are later, from the time when the owners were the Brevern family (1747-1919).
The stable and carriage house could be from the 19th century.
6. Albu (Alp)
Late 17th or first half of 18th century
The Albu Manor is first mentioned in 1282. In the Middle Ages a castle stood here, remains of which can be found in the cellar of the current building. In 1717-1740 the manor belonged to the Nieroths, who opened a school for orphans and the children of impoverished families. In around 1740 the manor was acquired by the Douglas family. It is not sure whether the wooden main building as it stands today was built by them or existed already in the late 17th or early 18th century.
The Albu Manor is unique for the numerous colourful Baroque and Rococo paintings on its interior walls and ceilings. These remained covered by plaster for centuries, until they were revealed in 1998.
Unfortunately I have no photos of the more famous paintings of the vestibule. These make this manor a real hidden gem for tourists in Estonia.
The wooden veranda is from 1888.
7. Loodi (Kersel)
This manor was established in the mid-16th century. In the 17th century it was owned by the Klot family, from whom it got its Estonian name. In 1679 it went to the Bock family, who were the owners until 1919. The Baroque wooden main building is from the mid-18th century. It was enlarged in the second half of the 19th century and further modified in the 20th century.
Next to the main building is an ornate woodshed from the end of the 19th century.
8. Võisiku (Woiseck)
This manor was first mentioned in 1558. It belonged to the Bock family from the second half of the 18th century until the 1830s. Its most famous owner was Timotheus Eberhard von Bock (1787-1836), a polkovnik and a dissident under Alexander I, whose life inspired one of the greatest Estonian novels of the second half of the 20th century – The Czar’s Madman by Jaan Kross (1978).
The main building is a one-storey structure with boldly protruding wings. The veranda at the entrance was probably added in the 19th century. A residential care home for the mentally ill operates in it now.
9. Ingliste (Haehl)
This manor stands on the site of a medieval castle. Its first mention is from 1526, when the Anreps were its owners. Its Estonian name comes from the Engdes noble family. Between 1724 and 1919 it belonged to the Staals. The main building was built in Baroque style in around 1760. In the subsequent centuries it underwent modifications.
10. Riidaja (Morsel-Podrigel)
The history of the Riidaja Manor goes back to the Livonian Crusade. It belonged to the Stryk family from 1562 to 1919. The main building is from 1762. It is one of the best surviving examples of Baroque wooden architecture in Estonia.
The main building represents the architectural type known as the Old Baltic manor. Buildings of this type were one-storey structures with a mantel chimney and a kitchen in the middle, surrounded by four rooms with fireplaces. The oldest examples are from the 17th century, but the plan may be even older. The Riidaja Manor is a special case here: instead of the usual one or two mantel chimneys it has three, which permit to heat more rooms, and which explain the length of the building. The type gradually disappeared in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The most outstanding structure near the main building is the stable and carriage house. It is a rare surviving example of a timber-frame construction of the period, a type that was not uncommon in Estonian lands. It was probably built in 1826.
11. Sargvere (Sarkfer)
The Sargvere Manor was first mentioned in 1564. Since 1722 it was an independent manor. It was inherited in matrilineal succession and had many owners in the history. The main building was built at the time when it belonged to the Kaulbars family. It is a hidden gem of Baroque architecture in Estonia.
Many original details survive in the interiors, including the stucco ceilings and the wardrobe.
12. Õisu (Euseküll)
1760-1767; portico – 19th century
The history of the Õisu Manor goes back to the mid-16th century. From 1744 until 1919 it belonged to the Sivers family. The complex that they constructed in the 1760s and 1770s constitutes one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in South Estonia.
The main building originally had a central segmental pediment on the both façades. One of these was replaced by a Neoclassical portico with a triangular pediment in the 19th century.
Emperor Alexander I visited the manor in 1809. His visit was commemorated by the placement of two marble sculptures, representing Justitia and Prudentia, near the entrance. It is thought that these were made by Giovanni Antonio Cybei from Carrara.
Along the circle of honour in front of the manor are two buildings with a curved outline: one of them housed the granary with the vodka cellar, while the other was the stable with the coach house. Their façades are formed of a row of slender columns, some with surviving carved capitals in the Corinthian order.
The steward’s house is from 1777. Its foundations predate the other buildings of the manor centre.
Noteworthy is the park with terraces and views towards Lake Õisu at the back side of the main building. It is one of the most outstanding manor parks in Estonia.
Of the surviving 19th-century structures of the manor the most remarkable is probably the wine cellar.
13. Maidla (Wrangelstein)
Johann Paul Dürschmidt, 1764-1767
This is one of the five manors named Maidla in Estonia. It was first mentioned in 1465, when it belonged to the Maydells, one of the oldest noble families in Estonia. Its German name comes from the Wrangells, another well-known Baltic German noble family, who became the owners of the manor in 1689.
The main building is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Estonia.
The Baroque entrance door is among the best of its kind in Estonia. Like many manors it was turned into a school in the 1920s.
The steward’s house is to the left of the building, while the houses of the servants and the gardener are on the right.
14. Ohtu (Ocht)
Johann Schultz, 1769
The Ohtu Manor was probably founded in the 1620s. The surviving main building, in Baroque style, was constructed in the 1760s, when the owners were the Kursell family. From 1793 to 1919 it belonged to the Meyendorffs.
The ruined limestone building with a gable in Gothic Revival style standing on the entrance way to the main building was used as a stable and a carriage house. It was built at the end of the 18th century and modified in 1888.
15. Kabala (Kabbal)
The Kabala Manor was established in the first half of the 17th century. The main building is from the time when the owners were the Uexkülls. The building is in Early Neoclassical style. The most notable space on the inside is the study of the owner. The manor also had stoves made of colourful glazed tiles.
16. Seidla (Seydell)
This manor was first mentioned in 1639. Over the years it belonged to various noble families, such as the Mohrenschildts, who constructed the main building in Late Baroque or Early Neoclassical style. Its entrance door is Rococo. The balcony supported by Doric columns is from around 1910. The first-floor veranda on the back is from the second half of the 19th century.
The granary is contemporary with the main building.
Nearby stands the windmill of the manor, dating back to the late 18th century. It is one of the very few operational Dutch windmills in Estonia.
17. Palmse (Palms)
Jakob Staël von Holstein, 1697; Johann Caspar Mohr, 1782-1785
This history of this manor goes back to the Middle Ages, when it belonged to the Cistercian Convent of Saint Michael in Tallinn. At the beginning of the 16th century it went to private hands and since 1522 its owners were the Metztaken family. In 1676-1919 it belonged to the Pahlens.
The main building was originally a two-storey structure in Palladian style. It was designed by Jakob Staël von Holstein, who is also thought to be the author of the main building of Maardu as well as some Palladian structures in Tallinn. In the Great Northern War the structure got severely damaged. It was restored by around 1730.
The current building, designed by Johann Caspar Mohr, the architect of the Stenbock Palace in Tallinn, was completed in 1785. It is, according to many, the most notable Baroque manor in Estonia.
Inside, the most remarkable features are probably the tiled stoves, dating back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The old mantel chimney is still operational.
Most of the furniture displayed in the main building today never belonged to the Pahlens.
Behind the main building are the remains of an 18th-century French formal garden. At the end of the 18th century and in the first half of the 19th century an English landscape park was added. It is one of the most impressive manor parks in Estonia. The further one goes from the main building, the more forest-like the park becomes.
Palmse is the most thoroughly restored manor complex in Estonia, with most of the auxiliary buildings standing in good condition.
Steward’s house (c. 1820)
Coffeehouse (after 1818 or 1840)
Spring pavilion (1840)
Kiln house (1809)
18. Roosna-Alliku (Kaltenbrunn)
Johann Schultz, 1780-1786
This manor, founded in the 17th century, got its name from the Rosen family, who were its first owners. The Stackelbergs owned it from 1725 until 1919. The main building is a good example of Early Neoclassical architecture. On the inside, in the Great Hall and the Blue Salon, there are rich stucco decorations by a Bohemian artist.
19. Saue (Friedrichshof)
Johann Schultz, 1786
The Saue Manor was separated from the Sausti Manor in the first half of the 17th century. At that time it was called Väike-Sausti (Klein-Sauß), from which its Estonian name comes. In 1775 the manor was acquired by Friedrich Hermann von Fersen, after whom it was later named in German.
The main building is a good example of Late Baroque architecture. It has rich stucco decoration in the rooms of the upper floor. Some of these seem to have been made by the same Bohemian artist who created the stuccoes of the Roosna-Alliku Manor.
The sculpture depicting Hercules is contemporary with the main building. There is also another sculpture in the park, depicting Leda and the Swan.
20. Holstre (Holstfershof)
Here stood a castle in the 15th century. The owner of that castle gave his name to the later manor. The main building of that manor does not survive. The most important of the standing structures is the steward’s house, built in the 1780s, when the manor belonged to the Berg family. It is in Late Baroque or Early Neoclassical style.
21. Aa (Haakhof)
1696-1698; late 1780s; late 19th century
The Aa Manor, located on the North Estonian Klint, was probably established in the 15th century. In 1630 Gustav II Adolf, King of Sweden, donated it to Georg von Wangersheim, whose descendants built a main building in Palladian style in the last years of that century. The structure burned down in the Great Northern War, but was restored in the 1720s.
In 1787 the manor went to the Nasackins, a noble family of Tatar origin, who reconstructed the main building, following the project of Christian Gottlieb Walther. The new project added lower side wings, the pediment of the central wing, and decorative features of the Early Neoclassical style. At the end of the 19th century, when the manor belonged to the Grünewaldts, four ornate wooden verandas were added.
From the late 18th century survives an octagonal domed pavilion in the park of the manor (now used as a chapel).
22. Kiltsi (Aß)
1292; 14th or 15th century; 1790
The Kiltsi Manor is first mentioned in 1466. In the 14th or 15th century a castle was built here, which was destroyed in the Livonian War. At that time it was owned by the Gilsen family, from whom it got its name. In 1784 it was acquired by the Benckendorffs, who built a new main building, using the remains of the old castle (e.g., one of the cylindrical towers). The pediment of the Neoclassical building shows the coats of arms of the Benckendorff and Brevern families, under which are the words ‘Gebaut anno 1292 und renovirt anno 1790’. The first year refers to the date of construction of the first castle on the spot.
The monumental central volume is balanced by two lower wings on the both sides, which curve to form a crescent. It ends with the steward’s house on the right and with the granary on the left.
In the first half of the 19th century the Kiltsi Manor belonged to the Adam Johann von Krusenstern, the leader of the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe in 1803-1806. The manor remained in the possession of his descendants until the early 20th century.
23. Koigi (Koik)
The Koigi Manor was separated from the Mäo Manor in 1758. It belonged to the Grünewaldt family from is foundation until the 1919 Land Reform. The main building was constructed in 1771. The Neoclassical additions are possibly from 1792.
The most impressive of the auxiliary buildings of the manor is the dairy. Its Neogothic side façade is from the late 19th century.
24. Sagadi (Saggad)
The Sagadi Manor was first mentioned in 1469. In 1684 it was acquired by the Fock family, who kept it until 1919. At the end of the first half of the 18th century they built a single-storey main building in Baroque style. Almost half a century later they enlarged it and redesigned it in Early Neoclassical style.
The original main building was complemented by a French garden. At the end of the 18th century it was replaced by an English landscape park.
Many auxiliary buildings survive of the manor, such as a nine-arch granary. The gatehouse is from the late-18th century.
In 1894 a balcony in Renaissance Revival style was added to the back façade of the main building (designed by Rudolf von Engelhardt). From that time also are the ornamental paintings covering the ceilings of most of the rooms.
25. Varangu (Warrang)
Johann Heinrich Bartholomäus Walter, 1795
The Varangu Manor was separated from the Liigvalla Manor at the end of the 17th century. It got its name from the Wrangell family. The main building was constructed at the time when the owners were the Krusensterns. It was designed by Johann Heinrich Bartholomäus Walter, the architect of the Tartu Town Hall.
The main façade has four pilasters in Tuscan order in the centre and rounded corners with wrought-iron balconies. The main hall has rounded corners as well, with doors in them.
The nearby structures are contemporary with the main building.
Stable and carriage house
Nearby is a wooden steward’s house from the 18th century. It is thought to be the main building of the Ao Manor, which had been disassembled, moved to Varangu and rebuilt here in around 1870. Eduard Wiiralt, the famous Estonian graphic artist, spent some years of his childhood here.
26. Liigvalla (Löwenwolde)
Johann Heinrich Bartholomäus Walther, 1797
This manor was a property of the Kärkna Abbey in the Middle Ages. At the end of the 16th century it went to private ownership, and its German name comes from its first owners. At the end of the 18th century it belonged to the Rehbinders, who built the surviving Late Baroque main building. The building was very ornate and still retains some of its original glory, despite the deterioration of much of the façades. The surroundings of the main building have grown into a forest.
On the back side of the main building are niches for sculptures.
27. Väätsa (Waetz)
Johann Heinrich Bartholomäus Walther (?), 1796-1800
This manor was probably established in the 1620s and 1630s. Its first owners were the Nieroths. In 1686 it was pawned to, and later bought by, the Baranoffs, a noble family of Tatar origin. They built a new main building and developed a French garden (in the mid-18th century). In the last years of the 18th century the Baranoffs abandoned the old main building and built a new one on a new spot.
The Early Neoclassical main building was unusual in that its back side did not face a park but was oriented towards the road leading to Türi. Furthermore, the auxiliary buildings were not oriented to the main building and its frontal square. On the inside the most beautiful room was the grand hall.
The last owners of the Väätsa Manor were the members of the Seydlitz family, in whose time some Historicist structures were added to the complex. The balcony on the back side is a recent addition.
28. Vasta (Waschel)
This manor was first mentioned in 1398. The current main building is from around 1800. Sadly there is not much information available about it.