Useful information
LIGHTHOUSE TOUR book
1. Contract stones and Otimäe stone burial place
2. Pühalepa church
3. Suuremõisa castle
4. Suursadam
5. Soera Farm Museum
6. Kärdla
7. Hill of Crosses
8. Tahkuna lighthouse
9. Reigi church
10. Kõrgessaare-Viskoosa
11. Kõpu lighthouse
12. Vanajõe Valley
13. Sõru harbour
14. Orjaku bird observation tower
15. Exhibits building of Hiiumaa museum in Kassari
16. Sääretirp
17. Kassari chapel and graveyard
18. Vaemla wool factory
 
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SUUREMÕISA CASTLE

Continue along the road next to the church (instead of going back) until you reach the paved road; turn right and drive towards the alley of oaks. At the ?rst major intersection, turn left, pass the castle and stop at the last parking lot.

Foto: Tiit Leito
Photo: Tiit Leito / www.fotokogu.com

Castle is of course a pet name for the biggest and the most glorious manor on the island. Not only the legends but true stories add to the allure of the place.

Before the manor house was built, the Pühalepa or Hallika estate was somewhere in the vicinity; it belonged to the De la Gardie family as far back as the 17th century. Jakob De la Gardie was made administrator of Estonia during the Swedish reign in Estonia, and purchased all of Hiiumaa island. The name of the place attested to the existence of a prosperous manor as from 1633 the place was called “Grossenhof” or “Suuremõisa” (Big Manor). Already at that time, the manor had several outbuildings and extremely large orchard. The present manor house was built by the countess Ebba Margaretha Stenbock (1704-1775), great-granddaughter of De la Gardie (1583-1652), in the middle of the 18th century. She was a widow with about dozen children who settled down in Hiiumaa and won back her ancestral rights to the lands from the Russian czar’s realm. The countess is buried in the mausoleum next to Pühalepa Church. Suuremõisa castle

Several dramatic events took place at the manor at the turn of the 18th–19th century. Baron Otto Reinhold Ludwig von Ungern-Sternberg (1744-1811) was a nobleman of Baltic German origin who made Suuremõisa the centre for his thriving shipping and salvage business. He was a better businessman than his schoolmate Jacob Pontus Stenbock (1744-1824), who was burdened with debts, so Ungern-Sternberg bought from the latter the Suuremõisa manor in 1796 as an addition to the North-Hiiumaa manors already in his possession. But his luck did not last for long. His eldest son committed suicide and the father himself killed Carl Malm, one of his ship’s captains of Swedish origin. After a long trial, O. R. L. von Ungern-Sternberg was deported to Siberia in 1803. At the trial, prosecutors also laid charges of piracy, kidnappings and racketeering at the baron’s doorstep. The murder charges stood up, but the other accusations were not proved. We must consider the fact thatthat it was quite common among farmers and landlords at that time to gain “wealth” by hostile takeover. In any case, the baron is remembered as a pirate and murderer.

Yet the family was not stripped of its property and the Ungern- Sternbergs continued to play a part in Hiiumaa history for the next 140 years. The last landlord, Evald Adam Gustav Paul von Ungern-Sternberg, died unexpectedly in 1909 without leaving any successors and so the ensuing years were quite complicated for the manor. The greater part of the manor’s extensive library and properties were sold or stolen during World War I and the years following it. At the beginning of the ?rst Republican era in 1918, a school began operating in Suuremõisa castle, but some of the rooms were left to the last Ungern-Sternbergs, Helene and Klaus. The latter didn’t have children of their own, but the children of the village have received education in this house to the present day. Right now the manor house accommodates Suuremõisa Technical School and Suuremõisa Primary School. Despite active usage, the schools have also preserved the building.

Tip: You can follow a wonderful trail to get to know the manor park (follow the signs and information boards).

Legends and stories

Many mysterious stories surround the manor house. Many people have heard or seen voices and ghosts, especially at night. A long time ago, when Stenbocks and pastor Chalenius (1741-1776) lived in Suuremõisa, the situation is said to have got out of hand. Old Nick himself sometimes joined card games, without the landlords noticing. The old folks also say that the devil wanted to get the manor for himself after it was completed. As the landlords would not consent, Satan came to terrify the people every night. At last the pastor was called to perform an exorcism. He came to the manor house, lay down on the couch in the room where the evil ones used to gather and cut a wooden apple into two. He placed one of the halves on the table and the other on his chest. The pastor knew that the devil had entered the house when half of the apple ?ew off the table to join its other half. The parson started to recite the evil spirit words. When he was finished, he made the sign of the cross three times at the door and said the Lord’s Prayer seven times at every window. Every crack and chink in the wall was protected by the sign of the cross. The devil was driven off. Old Nick then went back to his smithy in Kallaste (Kallaste bluff), from where the village women drove him off again finally.

 
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