Alatskivi Castle - a fairy-tale Castle on the eastern border of Estonia.
Since 1885 the snow-wite castle with its turrets has been catching everyone's eye in the heart of Alatskivi. The main building of the manor house was built following the example of Balmoral Castle and designed by the local master of the house and Baron von Nolcken himself. Through the ages the manor house has had a variety of functions, but since 2011 the Castle is once again open to visitors in all its glory.
The following awaits you in the castle:
- A visitor centre. A tour of the Castle as the dwelling house of one family, in addition, an everview of manor history, its renovation.
- Tubin Museum. An honourable guest of the Castle is the Estonian composer Eduard Tubin, who is originally from a nearby region.
- Alatskivi Castle Restaurant. Savoury experiences from German, Estonian and Scottish cuisine.
- Alatskivi Castle Suite. A recuperative overnight stay for eight people.
The buildings at the centre of Alatskivi Manor House. Their use during the manorial times and today.
1. The main building of Alatskivi Manor. Visitor centre, Eduard Tubin Museum, Restaurant.
2. Manor hors stables and carriage sheds. A hotel complex in the future.
3. The Manor cheese cellar. A building to support tourism related activities in the future.
4. Ice cellar. A bat house as a wintering place in the future.
he word “park” has come to the Estonian language om the Latin word ‘parricus’, which means a fenced area. Parks – areas around the palaces of noblemen arranged and designed according to the rules of landscaping – existed already in Persia, Babylon and Ancient Rome. Thee park heritage of Estonia is very rich. Old manor parks represent the majority of our parks. However, in comparison to their big examples in European countries, our parks have been simple and even modest, without any eye-catching decorations. Small parks (1-5 ha) comprise the majority of Tartu County parks and there are only 5 large landscape parks (over 10 ha).
Alatskivi ManorAlatskivi Manor was first mentioned in 1601. King Gustav Adolf II of Sweden gave it to his secretary Johan Adler Salvius in 1628 and it was passed on to the Cronmanns in 1642. The Stackelbergs bought the manor in 1753, the Nolckens inherited it from them in 1870 and it remained in their ownership until it was expropriated to the state. The earliest centre of the manor was located by the Tartu-Mustvee road. The new historicist mansion was built from 1880-1885 according to the designs of Arved von Nolcken, which were inspired by his trip to Scotland in 1875, before he started redesigning the centre of the manor. He fell in love with the new summer castle built for Queen Victoria in Balmoral. After his return, he started managing the building work himself and this is how the castle adorned with the design elements of the royal residence at Balmoral emerged on the high shore of the lake on the foot of the Alatskivi valley. It is a stone building with a strongly structured façade, a slate roof and numerous turrets. The main layout of the manor is asymmetrical and different parts of the building have either one or two floors. There is a balcony on the front façade. The main building was surrounded by several groups of outbuildings made of natural stone.
The Ministry of Agricultural Work became responsible for the manor after expropriation and the building has been used by different institutions such as a school, a cordon, a machine and tractor station and an agricultural holding centre. Today, the building is used by the Alatskivi Castle Foundation whose goal is to restore the manor complex. The old main building has also been preserved and it has been used as a community house and hobby centre after reconstruction.
The mansion is certainly the grandest manor building in Tartu County today. The castle with the preserved outbuildings and the park forms a remarkable whole. The towers and terraces of the castle offer magnificent views of the surrounding lakes, the church and the landscape.
Manor ParkThe initial regular park with terraces was established in the second half of the 18th century by the von Stackelbergs. Baron Nolcken expanded the park in the last quarter of the 19th century and turned it into a magnificent landscape park. Alatskivi Manor Park is the biggest (130 ha) park in Tartu County. A marked hiking track runs through the park that is a part of the Alatskivi Nature Reserve.
An alley of old lime trees, the Baron's Path, which starts with a circle of lime trees by the Tartu-Mustvee road, leads to the square in front of the castle. The part of the park in front of the building is surrounded by a low stone wall with a nice gatehouse. Outside the stone wall, the Alatskivi Castle is surrounded by a landscape park with irregular design. Old photos show that there were small parterres by the sides of the castle and behind it, but they were destroyed when the castle was occupied by a machine and tractor station.
Lime trees, ashes, oaks and maples are the dominant trees. The terrace of the main building offers views of Alatskivi lakes and Caprine yard. There used to pavilions and sculptures in the park. The Apollo Belvedere statue used to stand on a large boulder in the farthest part of the park – Kõdesi Forest. The statue now adorns Kadriorg Park in Tallinn. The boulder is under nature conservation as a single object.
An alley of alders and oaks also starts from the park and it leads to the Bed of Kalevipoeg along the shores of the lake. Tree circles are important elements of the park architecture: the largest of this, which consists of two rows of lime trees, is at the end of the so-called baron’s riding path; two smaller circles of initially cut lime trees are in the field next to the former greenhouse; a partially preserved circle is in the back square right next to the main building and a partially preserved ring of limes is in the front square of the old main building (now the community house).
Two red-brick gate towers used to stand at the edge of the large open front square. Only the current drive-in gate opposite the main building has survived until today. The small back square was designed as an open one and terraces descended towards the lake from here. The oldest lime trees of the park grew on the terraces.
A description from the end of the 16th century claims that there were three mills on the Alatskivi River. The places where the mills used to be can still be seen by the river. The reservoir created on the Alatskivi River was later divided in two with a dam – the Upper or Castle Lake and the Lower or Mill Lake.
Former ancient forts are located in the park: Alatskivi Fort, the Bed of Kalevipoeg and the gushing Red Spring. The Hirveaed Garden, which could be observed from the towers, was established on the eastern side of the castle. The area is currently used as a bonfire site during Midsummer’s Day celebrations and as a song festival ground.
Old parks have been skilfully placed into the natural environment and irrespective of their current condition, they are still an important feature in the appearance of the landscape. This is the reason why Alatskivi Manor Park was taken under conservation as far back as in 1929.
Protection regimeThe park of Alatskivi manor and some of the manor buildings are also conserved as heritage.
The purpose of protecting the park is to preserve the historical layout of the park, the arboretum that is valuable in terms of dendrology, cultural history, ecology, aesthetics and recreation, the design elements that are valuable in terms of park design and landscaping; and to manage and develop the use of the park in the future.
The land and water area of the park is a limited management zone whose outer boundaries are defined with the relevant legal act. The Ministry of Environment is the manager of the park and they can be contacted with any questions concerning the park. The park is for public use and everyone is allowed on the private roads and paths of the park from sunrise to sunset. Staying in the yard is allowed with the permission of the owner.
Park on avalikuks kasutamiseks ning pargi erateedel ja radadel on liikumine lubatud päikesetõusust päikeseloojanguni. Õuemaal viibimine on lubatud valdaja loal.
We hope you enjoy hiking in the beautiful old park!
Buildings and objects of the Alatskivi Manor
3. Westside Gate
5. Coach house
6. Coach house
7. Foal's Stable
8. Labourer's house
11. Servant's house
12. Laundry room
13. Cow born
14. Hay storehouse
15. Gardener's house
17. Beet- cellar
18. Tools house
21. Workhorse's Stable
22.;23. Cart houses
24. Hostler's house
26. Servant's house
27. Ex- Manor Hall
29. Hay storehouse
31. Miller's house
33. Labourer's house
34. Labourer's house
36. Sheep husbandry
37. Hay storehouse
38. Charcoal kiln
39. Threshing barn
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