The Kolga manor, owned by the colorful Stenbock family for three centuries, got a new owner who hopes to restore it as a cultural hub.
Anu Koppel, owner of Adelberg Real Estate, bought the estate with the aim of keeping it open to the public, ETV reported on Wednesday.
The estate, which is one of the largest in Estonia, dates back to 1298. By the late 16th century, the Swedish king John III awarded the manor to the French nobleman Pontus de la Gardie, who served Sweden and Denmark as a general and eventually settled in Estonia. The manor was part of the dowry in a marriage to a member of the Swedish Stenbock family, which owned the estate until 1940 when it was nationalized by the Soviet authorities.
The initial stone building was erected in 1642 and transformed into a baroque estate in 1765-1768. It received a classical style makeover in the 1820s, giving the manor its current appearance.
After re-independence, the estate was returned to the Stenbock family but has been on sale for years. The estate with its 22 immovable monuments is in dire straits.
Koppel initially feared the estate will be too large to handle but repeated visits inspired new ideas. She hopes to open a restaurant on the first floor of the main building and hold concerts and exhibitions on the second floor.
To make ends meet, the estate will have to house a hotel, which, in turn, requires serious renovation works first.
Koppel has been involved in real estate for years and is currently studying renovation at the Estonian Academy of Arts.
One of the most colorful representatives of the Stenbock family and residents of the estate was Count Eric Stenbock (1860-1895), whom the poet W. B. Yeats described as a “scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert, and most charming of men”. Although Stenbock spent most of his life in England, he lived in Kolga for a year and a half, keeping lizards, snakes and salamanders as pets or, alternatively, as deterrents for unwanted matches arranged by his family. His body is interred in Brighton, but his heart is buried near the manor in Estonia.