Kirna Manor

Kirna mõis

Estonia Järva County

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  • Kirna Manor Park is well known throughout Estonia as a nature therapy site. Rumors about the park with unique medical properties have also reached the rest of the world. There are frequent visitors from Europe and also from Brasil and Tibet.

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      Until the beginning of the 13th century, estonians in Järvamaa were enjoying their lives as free people in harmony with the nature. There is a powerful old estonian hiis in Kirna. "Hiis" is a term in Estonian native faith used to denote a sacred natural site, where people conducted different rituals.

      The German Order invasion to Järvamaa was in 1019 and in 1238 the whole area went to the Order from the Danish on the basis of the Stensby peace treaty. There are no written stories left about that time. According to legend monks from the Petseri monastery were settled to the Kirna manor area. They lived ascetically, grew turnips and beans for food, caught fish from the river and made cheese and butter from goat milk.

      After the collapse of the Order in the Liivi war in 1561, the whole county fell under the wing of Sweden. During the time of the Order the number of manors was small in Järvamaa because the Order owned most of the land. Now the Swedish government began the distribution of land to its noblemen and military officers.

      The King of Sweden, Gustav II Adolf gave 5 villages from Järvamaa as a gift to the head of Estonian Knightage Hans von Fersen, who in the 1620s established a manor there with a centrum in Kirna. The manor stayed with that family until 1787

      The initial Kirna manor house was made of wood, had 3 windows and was under the same roof with the granary. There was also a sauna, carriage house, stable and a barn on the manor property.  

      In the time of Carl Gustav von Fersen in the middle of the 18th century, the dashing white stone manor house was built, which you could see from quite far away on the hill, because at that time, there were no tall native trees around the house. There are folk stories about bringing the stones to build the manor house from a nearby limestone quarry and that the stones were carried to the manor by a human chain made of people from the surrounding villages.

      After the death of Carl Gustav von Fersen the manor was inherited by his niece Helene Dorothea von Fersen, who was first married to Johann Gustav von Osten-Sacken and later to Mihhail Gortšakov. The two-time widow put the manor to pledge to Count Manteuffel in 1798.

      In 1804 the Osten-Sackens bought the Kirna manor back for 120 000 silver rubles and the owner became Johanns younger brother Carl Magnus, who had had a remarkable courtly career in St Petersburg, where he was the educator of Tzar Paul I and Grand Duke Konstantin. After returning to his homeland, he then took on managing the manor, which had been left to manage itself and redesigned the manor house to the taste of nobility from St Petersburg. Pillars were added to the front facade, also balconies were added to both front and back facades. The park was redesigned towards free design solutions. 

      The interior design of the manor was also redesigned towards grand nobility style: pillar motives were added to the second floor and the ceilings were decorated with stucco decorations. The grotesque interior and other exotic neo-gothic elements originate from that time. There were 27 paintings in the great hall, which featured members of the family and some other parade portraits of celerities of that time. Next to the great hall was a library and next to that a study. On the other side were the diningroom and rooms of the Countess. There were 3 guest bedrooms in the manor.

      In 1805 Carl Magnus von Osten-Sacken had an atlas of the charts of the manor to be made. From there you could see that the manor property consisted of 19 buildings. In front of the manor house was a front square bordered by outbuildings. The granary, stables and carriage houses were brought closer to the manor house. Buildings connected to farming and vodka burning were take further away.

      Most likely, the life of nobility was too expensive. In 1816 the manor was put in pledge to Major-General Georg Ludwig Pilar von Pilchau and 5 years later the contract for buying the manor was drafted. The Pilchau family owned the manor for almost 100 years until 1919 Estonian land reform.

      The period of the Pilchau's in Kirna was quite conservative. The grand and pretentious manor was maintained and also some lighter renovating was done. All 19 buildings were kept in the same condition. In 1892 the manor went to two sisters, Helene and Julie Johanna Pilchau. Life in the manor became almost extinct. There were no more cattle or cultivating vegetables, butter or cheese production, brick manufaturing or vodka burning. The best days of Kirna manor stayed in the beginning of the 19th century.