Already in ancient times, there was a residential village, a mill and a fortress where Sannäs Manor is currently located. In the 1400’s the estate was owned by Peter Svärd, a native of Livonia, who was a member of a magnificent and rich family. In 1467 The estate was owned by gunman Paul Skytte, who donated the manor estate to the Nådendal Abbey as an act of gratitude for his daughter Anna’s access to the monastery. The lands were later returned by the monastery.
In the 1500’s, the most famous owner of the manor was Pentti Laurinpoika, who took part in the war against Russia, and to his credit, was knighted by the name of Sabelhjerta. Sabelhjerta was also a supporter of King Sigismund, and he participated in the war alongside Sigismund against Charles IX of Sweden as they fought for the throne. Charles IX seized victory and Pentti Laurinpoika was, as a “good man”, spared from vengeance and even gained the kings favour. Pentti Laurinpoika was later appointed head of the castle in Narva.
In the 1600’s the manor lands were at their largest. The 1700’s were an economically difficult time due to the Great Northern War. Sannäsin Manor’ current Väentupabuilding dates back to this era. In the 1700’s, the estate was owned by Otto Henrik Saberhjert who lost the manor to the Burre family in a card game. The manor was passed on to the Boije family in inheritance. In 1766 the manor was managed by Otto Krister Boije, who was forced to mortgage the property as collateral and was forced to sell the manor to Johan Anders Jägerhorn. Jägerhorn was a supporter of General George Magnus Sprengtporte, later future Finnish commander-in-chief. Over time, Jägerhorn found himself in trouble in Finland, and had to flee to Russia, and later to Holstein. Irish emigrants enticed Jägerhorn to take art in the the Irish Independence, where he was caught and imprisoned for two years in the Tower of London. When Finland was taken under Russian rule in 1809, Tsar Alexander urged him to return to his homeland. On his visit, the Irish minister for Trade and Industry has left a memorial plaque on the wall of a house by the old bridge in Porvoo. This was to honor Jägerhorn’s for his meritorious fighting in the Irish Independence War.
Axel Gustav Mellin (1775-1856) bought the estate and built the present manor house during 1836-1837. The architect was Carl Ludvig Engel. At the same time, a park designed by Paul Olsson was set up. Paul Olsson has also designed the Esplanade Park in Helsinki, as well as the presidential summer residence Kultaranta park. Mellin’s granddaughter married Gustav Silfverhjelmin . This young lady died in childbirth. Gustav bought the manor from his one-year-old daughter. Later, Gustav married Elsa von Born (Creutz family) at the Sarvilahti Castle.
Elsa and Gustav were both great patriots and supported Mannerheim’s idea of Finland's independence. The Independence War’s Military Committee met at Sannäs Manor in the White Hall (upstairs in the manor’s current lecture hall). Mr. Silfverhjelm also received Finnish infantry, who after receiving training in Germany, returned by submarine to an island on the Pernaja bay. From there he transported them to further war activities.
In the 1920’s life in the manor was sweet. Guests often seen at the manor included Gallen-Kallela, Marshal Mannerheim, General Ernst Linder, Alwar Cavén painter and opera singer Aino Ackté. Alvar Cavén has illustrated the menu of the time, which is still in use. During his visits to the manor, Mannerheim had his own room at the manor. It was the light blue cabinet clalled 'Marski' located on the restaurant floor. Baron Silfverhjelm was forced to sell his holding of 300 hectares in 1927, and this ended the era of nobility at mansion.
After this, the manor has had a number of different owners, until the early 1970s when the manor was acquired to be the training campus of Finnish business leaders and to serve the training needs of Lifim (Institute of Management). Sannäs Manor Ltd was transferred to the ownership of the Aalto University in 2010.
Today, the manor serves as a conference hotel. The old-age ambiance of the manor is best experienced in the manor main building, which has been carefully restored to serve both conferencing and dining needs.References:
Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.
Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.
In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.
In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.
Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.