Top Historic Sights in Kuusalu, Estonia

Explore the historic highlights of Kuusalu

St. Lawrence Church

The Church of St. Lawrence in Kuusalu is considered to be one of the oldest stone churches in Northern Europe. It may have been built originally by the Gotlandish Cistercian monks of the priory of a Roma monastery locating in Kolga. The church was built probably at the end of the 13th century. The Baroque-style bell tower was erected in 1760. The Neo-Gothic shape of the church originates from the large renovation made in ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kuusalu, Estonia

Kolga Manor

Kolga manor was founded in 1230 by the Cistercian monastery, located on the Swedish island of Gotland. In 1581 Sweden’s King Johan III presented Kolga to his army commander, Pontus de la Gardie. Through marriage, the manor changed hands from this well-known Swedish family to the Stenbocks who were the owners until the land reforms of 1920. In 1993 the grandiose mansion was returned to the Stenbocks. The building&rsq ...
Founded: 1230 | Location: Kuusalu, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.