Palaces, manors and town halls in Estonia

Lasila Manor

Lasila estate dates from the end of the 17th century. The current building was erected in 1862 in a romantic, neo-Gothic style. The interiors were restored in 1976. Embryologist Karl Ernst von Baer spent his early childhood at the manor house, which belonged to his paternal uncle, and a monument commemorating him stands in from of the building. Today, the manor is used as a school.
Founded: 1862 | Location: Lasila, Estonia

Ohtu Manor

Ohtu manor (Ocht) traces its origins to at least the 17th century. The manor received its current late baroque appearance, possibly the work of architect Johann Schultz, in 1769. The manor suffered from being neglected and eventually abandoned during the 20th century, but has been restored in 2002-2004. Some original details, such as the rococo carved wooden main door and a fine sculpted ashlar fireplace from 1654 (p ...
Founded: 1769 | Location: Ohtu, Estonia

Purila Manor

The original Purila Manor was first mentioned in 1513. It was built in Purila, Rapla County and was rebuilt in 1810 and again in 1930s. It was used by Estonian aristocrary, including Friedrich Gustav von Helffreichi, until the 20th century when it was used for education. After World War II it was used by the Soviet Army, including the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps from 1953 to ...
Founded: 1810 | Location: Purila, Estonia

Mõdriku Manor

Mõdriku estate (Mödders) was first mentioned in 1470. Over the centuries, it has been the property of various Baltic German families. During the 20th century, it has been used by various schools. The building traces its oldest parts to the 17th century, but has been extensively enlarged and rebuilt both during the 1780's and 1890's. The manor was the home of several successive generations of the von ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Mõdriku, Estonia

Pirgu Manor

The history of Pirgu Mansion dates back to the 17th century. Earliest document is dated 1662 when mansion belonged to famous Estonian noble family -Ykskyll (Uexküll). Pirgu that was the wooden building back then had no substantial damages during North War (Põhjasõda), but was after this war sold to family Peez to whom it belonged over 100 years. In 1819 Sir Gideon Von Sthal brought Pirgu for 90 000 sil ...
Founded: 1820s | Location: Pirgu, Estonia

Udriku Manor

Udriku estate (Uddrich) was founded in 1642 and belonged to the Baltic German Rehbinder family until the agrarian reforms following Estonia's independence in 1919. The current, neoclassical building is from 1803, and currently houses a nursing home. Some of the original interiors such as painted ceilings and plaster decorations are still preserved.
Founded: 1803 | Location: Udriku, Estonia

Suure-Lähtru Manor

The history of the Suure-Lähtru estate dates back to the end of the 16th century. During the centuries, it has belonged to several different aristocratic families. During much of the 20th century, the manor was used as a school house. The current building was completed in 1778, and was designed by Johann Andreas Jaenichen, while most of the stucco work was done by Johann Caspar Mohr, who was province a ...
Founded: 1775 | Location: Suure-Lähtru, Estonia

Võisiku Manor

Võisiku estate (Woiseck) was first mentioned in 1558. The current building was constructed in the second half of the 18th century. A veranda was added at a later date. Timotheus Eberhard von Bock (1787-1836), about whom Jaan Kross has written one of his most well-known novels, The Czar's Madman, lived at Võisiku manor. Chess player and endgame composer Friedrich Amelung was born at Võisiku Manor in 18 ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Põltsamaa vald, Estonia

Ääsmäe Manor

The manor in Ääsmäe traces its origins to 1574, when king John III of Sweden presented the estate as a gift to his secretary Johann Berends. The present building was built in the 1770's when the manor was under the ownership of the Baltic German family von Toll, possibly by designs made by architect Johann Schultz. It is a stylish early classicist ensemble with several preserved original details.
Founded: 1770s | Location: Ääsmäe, Estonia

Põlula Manor

Põlula manor, which has first been mentioned in 1489, has changed hands a number of times. A spacious stone annex was added to the 18th-century wooden two-storey building in the 1880s. Nowadays it is used as a schoolhouse.
Founded: 18th century | Location: Põlula, Estonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).