From the parking lot, turn right and drive about 2 km, until
a sign points to the centre of Kõrgessaare manor.
Photo: Meelis Lokk / www.fotokogu.com
The Kõrgessaare industrial settlement
is situated on the Ninametsa peninsula.
It is also an old manor place that
could be detected of the lonely older
buildings, as the distillery (Viinaköök)
made of field stones (latter half of the
19th century) or decaying granaries and
cellars. The wooden governor’s house
dates also back to the manorial era.
During the past decades it has served as
a kindergarten and elementary school.
Most recently, it housed the community
centre and library. In front of the Viinaköök and behind the cooling
pond there is a monument made of two huge stones. It is dedicated to
the crew of the lightship that guarded Neckmansgrund (an area of the
sea) and was sunk on the first night of the War.
All of the most well-known landlord families in Hiiumaa have
governed the now-crumbling Kõrgessaare manor, including the De la
Gardies, Stenbocks, Ungern-Sternbergs and Stackelbergs. The estate is
situated near a shallow stretch of sea, and very often the locals had to
rescue marooned sailors, their efforts rewarded with silver chalices and
other gifts. People remember the manorial garden being full of drying
velvet cloth and other luxuries.
E. A. P. K. von Ungern-Sternberg sold most of his lands here to
H. Kogan a year before he died (1909), and Kogan sold it to the Viscosa
company, which was planning to build the first artificial silk factory in
Estonia. The bulk of construction work lasted from 1911-1914. The first
stage of the factory was completed in 1914; and the first samples were
issued the same year. The raw material, cellulose water, was imported
from Finland and Russia. The beginning of World War I ended the
business. The new machinery, which had been in use for only a month,
was evacuated. But the name stuck, even after Russian soldiers blew up
the factory in 1917.
Its vast ruins waited for better days, but no one acted on the plans
during Estonia’s interwar independence era. Industrial activities recommenced
only after World War II, when the buildings were adapted for fish and meat processing.
Oddly, locals took
to calling this work farm by the foreign name, Viskoosa. Officially still
only a bus stop name, it has survived in the local vernacular. But the
harbour's name is Kõrgessaare and all the locals and summer visitors
associate the name with flounder, since catches of the fish are the largest
in this area.
Kõrgessaare could nowadays be considered an architectural
curiosity, where original excursions of the history of dwellings could
be organised. The farmhands' quarters from the manorial era are extant,
as are the large army dwellings characteristic of Russia, a district of
dwelling houses from the late Soviet period, with some private houses
in between. It is hard to find a neighbourhood on Hiiumaa that is as
The industrial nature of the area has necessitated major investments.
The cleaning facilities opened here in 1990s were so important for the
Estonian Republic that even the Swedish and Estonian prime ministers
came here to lay down the corner stone.
You should see the Ungru boulder. Not a huge rock, it is still connected
with stories of the false lighthouse.