Estonia has over a thousand manors, and to know who built them all, we’d have to look at history, which, for some bizarre reason, has always been particularly unkind to the country.
Whether it was Germans, Swedes, Danes, or Russians, someone always wanted this tiny piece of land and thought it should be theirs. As a result, there was one foreign invasion and occupation after another. The invaders showed little mercy to local peasants, but at least they left a trace of beauty behind: the manors.
There are so many grand homes in Estonia that an entire internet portal has been built around these architectural wonders, enabling anyone to take a cyber look at these stunning buildings. The web site, in fact, includes over 2500 photographs, and where there’s a manor, there’s always a movie script, as the saying might go. There’s no such saying, of course, but Estonian manors do attract film crews from around the world, and for a good reason.
The first reason is that there are eight types of manors in Estonia: knight manors, semi-manors, church manors, state manors, support manors, knighthood manors town manors, and manor dairy farms.
Secondly, they are all simply stunning. Let’s take a look at a few Estonian manors, knowing that pretty much every single one deserves your close inspection–especially if your job description contains the words “location” and “scout.”
One of the best known and best-preserved manor house complexes in Estonia is Sagadi in the northern part of the country. The ensemble consists of 20 outbuildings and a park, with the main building including painted ceilings restored to their former glory and elaborately carved wooden staircases. The 500-year-old building houses a hotel these days and has hence become a center of tourism as well as natural and cultural education.
Palmse Manor is another example of irresistible eye candy and is only a short drive from Tallinn airport. It’s also one of the biggest baroque mansions in Estonia and is surrounded by the breathtaking forest of Lahemaa National Park. The manor has become both a landmark and a tourist destination, accommodating open air theatre and a pub-like restaurant serving national dishes. Never mind the crowds, though, as nothing pleases Estonians more than having their architecture featured in movies, so securing the Palmse manor–or any other location, for that matter–shouldn’t be a problem.
Vihula manor is not too far from Palmse (should you wish to include two iconic Estonian buildings in one location) and has been converted into a modern luxury spa hotel. Its exterior, though, remains pretty much unchanged from the early 16th century when the manor was built. It’s a popular spot for weddings, among other things, so should Julia Roberts wish to become a runaway bride again, feel free to fly her over.
We’re pretty confident that the manors alone will convince you and your film crew to spend some time in Estonia.
To add even more value to Estonian manors as film locations, consider our Film Estonia cash-rebate, an incentive that supports the production of feature films, feature documentaries, animation films, animation series, high-end TV drama, and the post-production of all of the aforementioned projects. An application can be made for international production service or co-production to receive a cash rebate of up to 30% on eligible production costs.
Used photos: Visit Estonia