The first record of Suuremõisa Manor date back to the year 1519. The present manor house was built by the countess Ebba Margaretha Stenbock in the middle of the 18th century. The countess is buried in the mausoleum next to Pühalepa Church.
Several dramatic events took place at the manor at the turn of the 18th–19th century. Baron Otto Reinhold Ludwig von Ungern-Sternberg (1744-1811) was a nobleman of Baltic German origin who made Suuremõisa the centre for his thriving shipping and salvage business. He was a better businessman than his schoolmate Jacob Pontus Stenbock (1744-1824), who was burdened with debts, so Ungern-Sternberg bought from the latter the Suuremõisa manor in 1796 as an addition to the North-Hiiumaa manors already in his possession. But his luck did not last for long. His eldest son committed suicide and the father himself killed Carl Malm, one of his ship’s captains of Swedish origin. After a long trial, O. R. L. von Ungern-Sternberg was deported to Siberia in 1803. At the trial, prosecutors also laid charges of piracy, kidnappings and racketeering at the baron’s doorstep. The murder charges stood up, but the other accusations were not proved. We must consider the fact thatthat it was quite common among farmers and landlords at that time to gain “wealth” by hostile takeover. In any case, the baron is remembered as a pirate and murderer.
The last landlord, Evald Adam Gustav Paul von Ungern-Sternberg, died unexpectedly in 1909 without leaving any successors and so the ensuing years were quite complicated for the manor. The greater part of the manor’s extensive library and properties were sold or stolen during World War I and the years following it. At the beginning of the first Republican era in 1918, a school began operating in Suuremõisa castle, but some of the rooms were left to the last Ungern-Sternbergs, Helene and Klaus. The latter didn’t have children of their own, but the children of the village have received education in this house to the present day. Right now the manor house accommodates Suuremõisa Technical School and Suuremõisa Primary School. Despite active usage, the schools have also preserved the building.
Suuremõisa castle is one of the most beautiful and biggest manor-houses in Estonia. The value of the castle lies in its pure Baroque-Rococo style. The English-style manor park was established more than eight hundred years ago. You can follow a wonderful trail to get to know the manor park.
The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.
The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.
According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.
The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.
The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.
With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.