In the peak time of manors, there were over 2000 of them in Estonia. Time took its toll, and now there are only a few hundred preserved. Some manors serve as schools, some as museums. But fully restored Palmse Manor is the best example of this majestic architectural phenomena.
Estonia remained a pagan country until the 13th century when the crusades reached it. Estonians were conquered and baptised by Germans. Crusaders built manors for themselves to manage the conquered lands and, by the end of the Middle Ages, approximately 500 manors had been established in Estonia. But, most of the manors were built in the 1760s, until the beginning of World War I. By the year 1910, there were around 2000 manors. As we know, wars plant destruction on their way and, unfortunately, now there are only about 400 manors. Some of them serve as schools, some as hotels and spas, and some, sadly, stand in ruins. One of the most excellent examples of manors in Estonia is the Palmse Manor, one of the grandest baroque mansions in Estonia. It welcomes guests with its parks, gardens, historical buildings, a wine cellar, romantic café, and a tavern.
The main house is a perfect example of how the lords of the manor used to live. This elegant house hosts concerts to make you feel as if you were invited to a ball. Walls are covered with pictures of past lords of Palmse Manor, and you can almost imagine how they used to walk the exquisite rooms and halls and enjoy the finest treatment.
The Palmse Park covers over 210 hectares of land and consists of many parks – a regular park, a landscape park, and a forest park. There are three main trails to walk in the steps of lords and ladies of the manor. One of them is called the Path of the Lord of the Manor, the second one, arguably more beautiful and subtle is the Path of the Lady of the Manor. Lastly, the third trail is called the Path of the Maiden of the Manor, which ends by the labourers’ house at the tavern. For those who don’t prefer walking, there are horse and pony rides. The romantic souls can enjoy the views of the park from the boat ride on manor’s pond.
The tavern offers homemade local hearty meals, but if you are not really hungry, better take a peek at the manors wine cellar. It consists of more than 130 varieties of wine, both local and imported. Local wine is worth a try, and sweet berry wine makes every lady of the manor blush and smile.
If you only have time to visit one manor in Estonia, the Palmse Manor should be the one to choose. This magnificent mansion is the best example of the majestic historic manors, that were once common architectural phenomena in Estonia.
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