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02 January 2002 - 31 December 2050
Harjumaa, Tallinn

Estonian history from the 19th century

Open: 11.00 am - 18.00 pm Closed: Mon., Tue

Maarjamägi (i.e. Mary's hill) was one of the many summer resorts surrounded by beautiful scenery - a haven on the outskirts of the stony town. In the 17th century it was called Strietberg or Streitberg. This name might have come from the skirmish between the Tallinn blackheads and the besieging Russian soldiers in the Livonian War, due to which the place became known as that of the struggle or fight - Streit in the German language.

In the 18th century the place went from one owner to another for several times. In 1811 merchant Johan Gottlieb Clementz bought Strietberg and had a sugar-factory built here. Hence the popular name Suhkrumägi (Sugarhill). Several stone-buildings and part of the wall have preserved. In 1837 the factory was closed down. The new owner Christian Rotermann rearranged the buildings to produce starch and spirits.

Although the place had become industrial, it was still used for picnics and also as a summer resort. In the 1820s the salon of Russian writer Karamzin at Strietberg was visited by many well-known people.

Strietberg attracted many an artist too. At the beginning of the l9th century realistic landscapes and cityscapes of the veduta type were popular here. The trend might have been born due to an economic impetus - holiday-makers were eager to take views of Tallinn back home to remind them of the beautiful summer holidays.

In January 1873 Count Anatoli Orlov-Davydov bought the site. He had evidently renamed the place in honour of his wife or daughter (both bore the name Maria). The manor was built on the premises of the former factory, the design following medieval architectural styles was made by architect Robert Gödicke. The free-planned park was typical to manor-complexes at that time.

In the 1920s the Orlov-Davydovs emigrated to France and for some time the manor was rented to different persons. The place was advertised as a beauty-spot. In 1937 the Estonian Republic bought the estate and the Estonian Air Force Aviation School was moved here. The military establishment changed the countenance of the Maarjamäe ensemble considerably as most of the buildings were given new functions.

In 1940 the place went into the hands of the Soviet army who stayed for many years. The last repairs and reconstruction took place in the post-war years. The former large territory and its buildings were neglected and became dilapidated. The buildings that were a disgrace for the town were given to the Estonian History Museum. It was considered imperative to restore the facades, the park was restored according to the plan that followed the one of 1910, i.e. that of free planning. The new branch gives more opportunities to exhibit different materials and organize temporary displays.

Maarjamäe Palace 56 Pirita St.

Event type: Museums
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     Estonian Institute 2002-2003