Oru Palace was a palace or castle in the northeastern part of Toila. The castle was originally the holiday home of a Russian merchant, Grigory Jelisejev, and later the summer residence of the Estonian head of state. It was built in the Italian renaissance style by Gavril Baranovski, with park designer Georg Kuphaldt. The 57-room three-story building was completed in 1899. The castle descends towards the river terraces, and also contains riding stables and manege. Alleged construction of the palace and the park was the total cost of 5 billion gold rubles.
After the Bolshevik revolution of October, Jelissejev went to Paris. The land belonging to the castle was not sold as it was farmland. In 1934, Jelissejev was not willing to sell land to private persons, but only in the state. The agreement was finalized on 22 February 1935. Until 1940 it served as the summer residence of the Estonian president Konstantin Päts. On 13th August 1941, a fire caused by the retreating Soviets largely destroyed the palace. Today notable gardens are located here.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.