Wiurila manor was first mentioned in history books in the 15th century. At that time, it was owned by Magnus Johansson till Wiorela. His daughter Elseby married Henrik Flemming and inherited Wiurila. For 300 years from that day on, the manor of Wiurila was inherited from mother to daughter.
In 1787, baron and major general Magnus Wilhelm Armfelt bought Wiurila. His son Gustaf Mauritz inherited the manor of Joensuu, and his second son August Philip inherited the manors of Wiurila and Vuorentaka.
August Philip ordered the first national architect of Finland, an Italian called Carlos Bassi, to design a new main building for Wiurila. Building work on the neoclassical mansion was completed in 1811. Magnus Reinhold, son of August Philip, had the agricultural and domestic wing built during the years 1835 to 1845. The facade was created by another national architect, C. L. Engel.
August Armfelt, son of Count Magnus Reinhold, was a very influential man and an enthusiastic farmer. In his time, Wiurila had a brick factory, sawmill, windmills, a dairy, distillery and the oldest known Finnish brewery. A variety of craftsmen worked on the self-sufficient Wiurila estate, and its own ships carried exports abroad - spirits, butter, wheat, lumber and other products. Wiurila consisted of 48,000 hectares, of which approximately half was in Hiitola, Karelia. The last Count, Carl August Armfelt (died 1942), provided Wiurila with electricity and running water.
The manor became smaller during land handovers and the sharing of inheritances. As a result, just 30 hectares of farmland and a similar amount of forest was left when Anna Louise Standertskjöld-Brüninghaus, the granddaughter of Carl August, took possession of the estate in 1951. The manor of Wiurila has bloomed to its present prosperity due to her and her husband Günter Brüninghaus.
The current surface area of Wiurila is approximately 150 hectares. One of its specialities has been the farming of sweetcorn. The estate is now managed by the Brüninghauses' daughter, Anne Marie Aminoff.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.