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.
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.