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Introduction

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The Maardu manor, the construction history of which dates back to some three hundred years, is one of the oldest and most valuable fully completed manor ensembles in Harju County. The manor was first mentioned already before the Jüriöö Uprising, in 1314, but its location was at Muuga. Data from the manor at its current location date back to 1397.

The older part of the main building is in Baroque style. Several similar manors were built in the second half of the 17th century (Aa and Palmse manors have analogous room plans).

The Maardu manor ensemble – the main building and the stables, as well as the garden with its bordering wall – are under protection as architectural monuments of local importance, whereas the park is also a nature conservation object of local importance.

Owing to persons related to the manor, the place is also important from the point of view of cultural history. The most well-known of the former owners of the Maardu manor is general Hermann Jensen von Bohn, who helped finance the publication of the first Estonian-language Bible in 1739. There is a monument erected in his honour in the park in front of the house and a copy of his portrait decorates a room in the building.

Most prominent owners of the Maardu Manor

The manor has been owned by such renowned aristocrat families as the Rosens (from 1491), the Uexkülls and the Taubes (1529). The Taubes had the manor for over a century. Then occurred several sales transactions until major-general Fabian von Fersen acquired the property in 1663. Von Fersen is the most important figure in the construction history of the manor, since the main building was fully completed during his ownership.

The Maardu Manor survived also the Great Northern War. In 1729, the manor was bought by lieutenant-general Hermann Jensen von Bohn. He had the property renovated, constructed new buildings and hired an experienced gardener from Germany to take care of the flower garden. Von Bohn was affluent enough to have manor buildings constructed, publish the first Estonian-language Bible and establish schools for the children of local peasants. He opened a total of 16 village schools on the premises of the Maardu, Jägala and Raasiku manors, which was more than in all the rest of Harju County. Teachers at those schools were literate peasants, including two first female tutors.

In 1746 the manor went to Peter von Brevern, who was Katharina von Bohn's youngest son from her first marriage. The Brevern family had the manor for over 1.5 centuries until it was expropriated as a result of the land reform at the start of the 20th century.

Architectural history of the Maardu manor

According to the Swedish State Archive, the architect that designed the manor building is Jacob Stael von Holstein – one of the most prominent personas of the 17th-century Baltic architecture. A. Hein has established the Maardu manor main building was constructed on the basis of von Holstein’s drawings.

The Baroque-style main building, which has also been described as Palladian (read more), consists of three parts – the wider central part has been complemented by two wings.

In the 19th century the building was extended by lower wing-parts (including the conservatory), which partitioned the house. At the end of the century the mansion underwent rather extensive design works. Both the masterly Historicist ornamental ceiling murals (renovated in 1978) and the three Historicist tiled stoves preserved on the first floor are from that period. The most representative of the latter is located in the room left to the vestibule (the Hunting Hall) and it is decorated with a neo-Renaissance relief sheet. The distillery, the stables and the barn were also completed in the 19th century.

The Maardu manor has been highlighted as one of the best-preserved 17-century mansions, although its Historicist interiors refer to the end of the 19th century.

The flower garden behind the main building was relatively large and consisted of two parts – the upper section has mainly linden, maple, ash, oak and elm trees, and below the terrace there is the lower garden with apple, pear, and cherry trees and beehives. In addition there are two ponds, where there used to be crucian carps, carps and pikes. At the back of the park there is the Brevern family burial ground, but most of the tombstones have not been preserved. The front garden of the manor has free planning and it develops into a wooded meadow on the north side.

Chronology of the Maardu manor

1397 first mention of the Maardu (Mart, Marte) manor.
1656 data on wooden buildings.
1663 Fabian von Fersen acquires the manor.
About 1710 the manor building is confiscated after the Great Northern War by Empress Catherine’s economic office. The manor becomes the most preferred outing destination for the high society of the time. Manor buildings undergo renovation.
1726 a description of the manor which does not differ much from the current situation.
1729 Hermann Jensen von Bohn, a general of Danish origin and President of the War Council, acquires the manor.
1746 Peter von Brevern buys the manor. The Brevern family own the property until it is expropriated.
1919–1956 the manor is at disposal of Maardu Primary School.
1956 the main building becomes the centre of the collective farm, thereafter of the Kostivere state farm. The building is renovated in 1976-1979.
About 1980 the manor goes to the Model Bird Farm.
1992 Eesti Pank acquires the manor.
1999 renovation of the manor is completed, a monument (by M. Karmin) is opened in honour of H. J. von Bohn.
2000 a copy of H. J von Bohn’s portrait (by G. C. Grooth, 1742) on the manor hall wall.


 
 


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Maardu Manor
Tel: +372 668 0649
Fax:+372 668 0836
E-mail: maardu@eestipank.ee
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