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.
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.