As I mentioned in my previous post, last weekend we visited the Viljandi region in the middle of Estonia. Near Heimtali where Anu Raud lives is an old manor house that is open to the public only once or twice a year. We happened to be there on one of these weekends when it is accessible.
Baltic German nobility built manor houses in Estonia chiefly in the 18th century and extending into the
mid-19th century. Over 2000 such manors once existed. These are large country homes surrounded by a parkland. Heimtali Manor was built between 1855-1857 by Peter Reinhold von Sievers in a style that was influenced by Italian architecture. In the early 20th century due to land reform changes, most of the German landlords left to return to Germany. Many of the manors and surrounding parks fell into disrepair.
Many of these manors have been restored and are open to the public, as well as are available for special events. Some serve as hotels. In the beginning of 2005 in sixty-three of the existing 500 or so manors that still remain, the manor houses have been restored and converted into schools. Some of these schools maintain rooms depicting the history of the manor. This appears to be a good solution to restoring the Baltic German part of Estonian history and at the same time to have a practical solution for setting up new schools in the different parts of the country. In Heimtali the elementary school was established already in 1932, but has been recently
modernized. Below are some images of the manor, the surrounding park, and a chemistry classroom.
Other photos of Manor as well as Emajõgi in Tartu I will post under “My Travels” tab.