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:
The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.
In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.
In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.
After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.
In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.
In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.