The history of Puurmani Manor (in German: Schloß Talkhof) dates back to the Middle Ages when a castle of the Order was located here. It was a residence of the Vogt of the Order. The castle was built to protect the crossing point of River Pedja and the main road between Tartu and Tallinn.
Later the place of the former castle was turned into a manor. The Estonian name of the estate stems from the Buhrmeister family, who were the owners in the Swedish times after having been given the manor in 1645 by Queen Kristina. By 1919, the year of expropriation, the estate was owned by the aristocratic von Manteuffel family.
The present neo-Renaissance styled main building was built by Ernst von Manteuffel in 1860’s. One of the palace's frontal corners is emphasized by a five-floored octagonal tower. Both the tower and the facade of the building are richly decorated. In the interior design Neo-Renaissance is combined with Neo-Baroque.
The Puurmani park and estate complex is under national protection. More than 50 species of trees and bushes can be found in the well organized park, which is divided into two parts. The front of the manor is arranged symmetrically according to the French style. The part behind the building exhibits the English style with its informal landscape gardening. Linden alleys and red brick fences also enhance the beauty of the park.
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.