At the beginning of the 20th century Tartu expanded two and a half times after the lands of surrounding manors were expropriated. Most of the manorial estates are preserved, some of them – renovated and used by the new owners.
An excursion by bicycle or by car is offered, visiting five of the standing manorial estates: Tähtvere, Maarjamõisa, Tamme, Ropka and Karlova. Duration – 2 hours. Short description of the manorial estates:
Tähtvere manor is the oldest one, it was first mentioned in 1515, and it belonged to the Bishop of Tartu during the Middle Ages. The Heimat style main building was constructed in 1913. The Estonian Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine used the main building of the manor after the Second World War. Today, the main building of the manor is one of the study buildings of the Estonian University of Life Sciences.
The Maarjamõisa manor was founded in the 1730s and belonged to the state. The flat-roofed one-storey wooden main building was probably built in the beginning of the 19th century. Part of manor’s lands were used for constructing Tartu University Clinics.
In the territory of former Tamme manor one of the first garden-city type districts was planned. Out of historical buildings the wooden manor house and a White Horse Inn have survived. The White Horse Inn with a summer theatre built in 1858 was one of the favourite suburb pubs of the students in the 19th century.
Ropka manor is the second oldest manor in Tartu, it was first mentioned in 1531. It has belonged to many different noble families, the last 100 years till expropriation in 1919 the manor belonged to von Brasch family. After the First World War the manor was used by Estonian Army. The one-storey stone mansion was built in the first half of the 19th century. Preserved manor buildings include the farm hand’s house, cattle barn, converted stables that belong to AS Eviko, granary, cellar, and the manor park is also still there. At the moment AS Dentes owns the manorial estate.
Karlova Manor was founded in 1793 when Karl von Krüdener bought part of Tähtvere Manor lands. Thaddeus von Bulgarin bought the manor in 1828 and had the old building expanded to more than twice its original size. Karlova Manor became the cultural centre of local Russians during the time of the Bulgarin. The manor had a remarkably rich collection of art, books and rarities, which included the biggest privately owned collection of maps in the entire Russian Empire. Today the manor house stands in private possession and is carefully reconditioned.