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:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.