Palaces, manors and town halls in Estonia

Tallinn Town Hall

Tallinn Town Hall, located in the main square, is the only surviving Gothic town hall in Northern Europe. The first recorded mention of the Town Hall dates from 1322. Its present form dates from 1402-1404, when the building was rebuilt. The spire was destroyed in an aerial bombing on March 9, 1944. It was rebuilt in 1950. The Town Hall is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with the Tallinn's Old Town. The buil ...
Founded: 1322 | Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Great Guild Hall

Since the 14th century craftmen’s guilds were significant brotherhoods who drove interests of their members. The big guild of Tallinn was an union of wealthy merchants. Their base was the Great Guild Hall in downtown, opposite the church of Holy Spirit. The building itself was built in 1407-1410 and is a well-preserved sample of Medieval construction. Today the Great Guild Hall houses a museum presenting Estonia's hist ...
Founded: 1407-1410 | Location: Tallinn, Estonia

House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads

The House of Black Heads (Estonian Mustpeade maja) is a Renaissance-style building in Tallinn old town. The building's name is derived from its developers, the Brotherhood of Black Heads which was the guild of foreign unmarried merchants. The Brotherhood was founded sometime around 1399 and was active in Estonia and Latvia. A 14th-century residential building probably occupied this site when the Black Heads bought ...
Founded: 1597 | Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Kadriorg Palace

Catherinethal ("Catherine's valley") is a Petrine Baroque palace of Catherine I of Russia in Tallinn. It was built after the Great Northern War to Nicola Michetti's designs by Gaetano Chiaveri and Mikhail Zemtsov. In the 20th century the Estonian version of the name, Kadriorg, gained currency and came to be applied to the surrounding district. After the successful siege of Reval in 1710 Peter the Great of Russia b ...
Founded: 1718 | Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Pärnu Town Hall

The Town Hall is actually a whole quarter. Its oldest building, the merchant's house, was built in 1797. In 1806 it served as an accommodation for the Russian Czar Alexander I during his visit to Pärnu. Legend has, that in 1819, on the command of the Czar, the merchant's house was turned into the house of the commandant of the town. Since 1839, the building was used as Town Hall. In 1911 it acquired an Art N ...
Founded: 1797 | Location: Pärnu, Estonia

The Knighthood Building

The Knighthood Building was built by von Dellingshausen at the end of the 18th Century and today, it accommodates the County Government of Saaremaa. At the beginning of the 19th Century, the house belonged to the Nobility of Saaremaa, then in 1912, to the Noblemen's club. The County Government of Saaremaa bought the house in 1920. The foundation of the building is symmetrical, with a high socle floor. The façade is propo ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Kuressaare, Estonia

Keila-Joa Manor

There has been a manor house on the site of Keila-Joa manor (Schloss Fall) since the 17th century. The present manor house was built in 1831-1833 and designed by St. Petersburg architect Andrei Stackenschneider. The manor represents one of the earliest examples of neo-Gothic architecture in Estonia. It was built for the family of count Alexander von Benckendorff (whose graves can be found in the p ...
Founded: 1831-1833 | Location: Keila-Joa, Estonia

Kuressaare Town Hall

Kuressaare town hall was built in 1654-1670. The initiator of town hall building was count M. G. De la Gardie. Town hall is simple and dour but appears to be grand representative of so called northern baroque the decoration of which is hewed portal that dates 1670. Reference: Visit Estonia
Founded: 1654-1670 | Location: Kuressaare, Estonia

Maarjamäe Palace

Maarjamäe or Orlov’s Palace was commissioned by Count Anatoli Orlov-Davydov from St. Petersburg. The historicist limestone summer residence on the seashore was designed by architect Robert Gödicke. In the 1930s the building housed a magnificent restaurant – the Riviera Palace. In 1937 the Estonian Air force Flying School obtained the building, the Soviet Army took over in 1940. The restored palace op ...
Founded: 1874 | Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Heimtali Manor

The Heimtali manor was established in the 16th century, but was rebuilt in a more impressive style during the time it belonged to Peter Reinhold von Sivers in the 1850s. The historic main building is now used as a school. The turreted cheese dairy (sometimes incorrectly thought to be a vodka distillery) was completed in 1858 and reminds one of a medieval stronghold. It was restored in the 1980s for holding different event ...
Founded: 1855 | Location: Pärsti, Estonia

Palmse Manor

Palmse is probably the most grandiose and well-known manor in Estonia. It was originally established by the Cistercian convent of Tallinn, but owned by von der Pahlen family over two centuries, from 1676 to 1922. The mansion is one of the few Swedish main houses and its building was started under the design stewardship of Jakob Stael von Holstein in 1679. The present form of the building stems from rebuilding in 1782 to ...
Founded: 1782-1785 | Location: Vihula, Estonia

Roosna-Alliku Manor

The Roosna-Alliku Manor was donated to von Rosen family in 1620 by Christina, Queen of Sweden. The coat of arms of family features a white rose, which has become the symbol of the manor. In 1721 it was acquired by von Stackelbergs. The present main building is one of the most impressive examples of early classical manor architecture in Estonia, completed by Otto Friedrich von Stackelberg in 1786. Worthiest of attention in ...
Founded: 1786 | Location: Roosna-Alliku, Estonia

Narva Town Hall

The town hall is one of the three buildings in Narva survived from World War II. The Baroque-style building was built by the order of Swedish king Charles XI. The project of the master George Teuffel from Lubeck formed the basis of the building, the construction of which started in 1688. After three years, at the latest in 1691, the building was finished when a gold-plated forged weathercock in the form of a crane was put ...
Founded: 1688-1691 | Location: Narva, Estonia

Sangaste Manor

The first mention of Sangaste Manor date back to the year 1522. The present main building is one of the most gorgeous manor houses in Estonia. The red-brick house, built between 1879-1883, represents the Gothic revival style with English features. It was designed by architect Otto Pius Hippius and the owner of the building throughout its existence as a private house was the scientist Count Magnus von Berg (1845-1938). Th ...
Founded: 1879-1883 | Location: Sangaste, Estonia

Padise Manor

Padise Manor is an 18th century historic mansion housing a boutique hotel and restaurant in the countryside of Estonia.  The manor house sits just 25 meters away from the extraordinary 14th century Padise monastery ruins. The history of the von Ramm family and this estate begins in 1622 when King Gustav Adolf II of Sweden granted the Padise monastery ruins and surrounding land to Thomas von Ramm as a gift. The manor ho ...
Founded: 1780 | Location: Padise, Estonia

Taagepera Manor

The history of Taagepera manor date back to the 16th century. It was owned between 1674-1796 by the Stackelberg family and the village of Taagepera is named after them. The present Art Nouveau-style manor house was built between 1907-1912 according the design of Otto Wildau. Today Taagepera manor houses a hotel-seminar centre. In addition to the main building of the Manor Complex worth seeing are also the gate building, ...
Founded: 1907-1912 | Location: Helme, Estonia

Suuremõisa Manor

The first record of Suuremõisa Manor date back to the year 1519. The present manor house was built by the countess Ebba Margaretha Stenbock in the middle of the 18th century. The countess is buried in the mausoleum next to Pühalepa Church. Several dramatic events took place at the manor at the turn of the 18th–19th century. Baron Otto Reinhold Ludwig von Ungern-Sternberg (1744-1811) was a nobleman of Baltic German or ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Hiiumaa, Estonia

Sagadi Manor

Sagadi Manor had owned by the von Fock family from the year 1687 to 1922. The current main main building was completed in 1753 and enlarged in 1793. It is one of the rare Rococo-style buildings in Estonia. The manor house, annexes and the surrounding park have been restored. Today Sagadi hosts a manor museum (the interior has been also carefully restored and refurnished), forestry museum, park and hotel.
Founded: 1753 | Location: Vihula, Estonia

Rakvere Manor

Teatrimägi hill is one of the oldest places in Rakvere – people have lived here for thousands of years. In the first half of the 16th century there was a Franciscan monastery here, but it was not until 1670 that the first, baroque manor house was built here. The park surrounding the manor was named the “People’s Park” when Estonia gained its independence. Today the original manor building (the ...
Founded: | Location: Rakvere, Estonia

Kernu Manor

Kernu estate was established in 1637. The current building owes its stately neoclassical appearance to a thorough renovation executed 1810-1813, possibly by the designs of renowned Helsinki architect Carl Ludvig Engel. The front façade is dominated by a richly decorated portico, while the side facing the park displays a 4-column half rotunda, unique in Estonian architecture. A care home has been ...
Founded: 1810-1813 | Location: Harjumaa, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Jelling Runestones

The Jelling stones are massive carved runestones from the 10th century, found at the town of Jelling in Denmark. The older of the two Jelling stones was raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger of the two stones was raised by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents, celebrating his conquest of Denmark and Norway, and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity. The runic inscriptions on these stones are considered the most well known in Denmark.

The Jelling stones stand in the churchyard of Jelling church between two large mounds. The stones represent the transitional period between the indigenous Norse paganism and the process of Christianization in Denmark; the larger stone is often cited as Denmark's baptismal certificate (dåbsattest), containing a depiction of Christ. They are strongly identified with the creation of Denmark as a nation state and both stones feature one of the earliest records of the name 'Danmark'.

After having been exposed to all kinds of weather for a thousand years cracks are beginning to show. On the 15th of November 2008 experts from UNESCO examined the stones to determine their condition. Experts requested that the stones be moved to an indoor exhibition hall, or in some other way protected in situ, to prevent further damage from the weather.

Heritage Agency of Denmark decided to keep the stones in their current location and selected a protective casing design from 157 projects submitted through a competition. The winner of the competition was Nobel Architects. The glass casing creates a climate system that keeps the stones at a fixed temperature and humidity and protects them from weathering. The design features rectangular glass casings strengthened by two solid bronze sides mounted on a supporting steel skeleton. The glass is coated with an anti-reflective material that gives the exhibit a greenish hue. Additionally, the bronze patina gives off a rusty, greenish colour, highlighting the runestones' gray and reddish tones and emphasising their monumental character and significance.