During my day to Estonia’s Lahemaa National Park, roughly an hour or so via car from Tallinn, I took an extensive tour of Sagadi Manor, which sits inside the park. I’m not normally a fan of tours, since I get carried away by visual temptations and often wander off to shoot this or that. Easily distracted, it’s often hard for me to sit through a lengthy tour since they’re usually loaded with more facts than visuals.
The tour of the stately Sagadi Manor however was able to boast both. Oozing with facts and incredible visuals, it seemed as if there wasn’t anything our guide didn’t know about the place or frankly, the area. The complex itself is often referred to the most manorial manor in Estonia. The 18th century manor house discretely glitters with white arcades which surround a large central square and a pond that symbolizes the eternal love of a lord of the manor.
Nobility reigns in every nook and corner of every room. It was originally owned by German royalty, since most Estonians were peasants and farmers and worked for one royal family or another. Other estates I saw over the course of my trip were owned by Danes and the Swedes, dating back as far as 1219, others in the mid 1600s. From Danish Kings and Russian high ranking military to German Lords, other nations had all the money in this region before Estonia was set free.
At Sagadi, women lived on one side of the house whereas the men lived on the other, with separate areas designated for smoking and drinking. The rich made their own vodka on private properties but after the 19th century, vodka distilleries cropped up around the country. An amusing fact about how this particular royal family dealt with sex at the time: if a husband wanted to visit his wife on a particular night, he would hang a sign out on her door so she knew he was coming and when they were finished, he would return to his room and remove the sign.
The furniture shown here that fill Sagedi’s rooms today was built around 1911.
The tour gets even better as we were surprised by something I’m more passionate about than history: Food. The Sagadi Manor is set up to cater to visitors because they host weddings here from time-to-time. Below is the decadent, formal table where we had lunch.
As for the menu? The dishes felt like they would never stop coming, starting with marinated lampreys on a bed of cucumber, cold-smoked salmon with garden herbs, smoked duck fillet with fresh garden salad and a berry vinaigrette, baked goat cheese with rowan berry jelly and carrot terrine. And, that was just to start things off.
They also served a slowly baked lamb joint with garlic sauce and oven baked vegetables.
For dessert, a marizipan cake without wheat flour, accompanied by tea or coffee. We were served a Cousino-Macul Merlot and Chardonnay throughout the course of the meal.
RMK SAgadi Manor
Sagadi Kula, Vihula Vald
45403 Laane-Viru Maakond, ESTONIA