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Frontpage News 2008 New life for Kiltsi manor

EE0029 Kiltsi.jpg

New life for Kiltsi manor, Estonia

  • The Kiltsi manor house in Estonia, dating back to the 1790s and currently housing Kiltsi elementary school, is given a new lease of life with a €1.1 million renovation grant from Norway.

    After being derelict for almost a century, Kiltsi manor, located in north-eastern Estonia, will now be renovated to enable the building to remain in use as the local community's public school. The manor repair was put on a fast track in November 2007, when the municipality was awarded a €1.1 million grant from Norway to its €1.36 million project aimed at restoring the building to its former glory.

    Ruin and decay

    Kiltsi manor house was built in the 1790s on top of the ruins of a 13th century fortification. At the heyday of the manor houses, Estonia boasted close to 2000 manors across the country. But, over the last century, most of these unique buildings fell into decay and ruin. Today only a third of the houses remain, largely due to having been in use as school buildings since the 1920s. While the schools might have saved the buildings from total decay, the local municipalities never had the means to restore the often exquisite interiors or even the façades.

    New gym

    At the Kiltsi manor a crumbling roof, cracks in ceilings and walls, worn out floors, poorly isolated windows and moisture damage have for decades hampered the school's social life. Now, the building's medieval foundation, façade and interior are up for a complete revamp. In addition to preserving an important cultural monument, the teaching and learning conditions will significantly improve. Upon completion, the school's physical education classes can be moved from the hall to the new gym, new rooms for hobby group activities and recreation will be put to use, and the teachers will have a renovated common room.

    Baltic-German nobility

    Although a relatively small manor, the long list of previous owners of the Kiltsi manor is an excursion through Baltic-German nobility - von Gilsens, Uexkülls, Zoegas, Manteuffels, Rosens, and von Benckendorffs. The most honoured among the previous owners is Adam Johann von Krusenstern, an admiral of the Russian Empire that led a voyage around the world in 1803-1806. The project also includes an establishment of a heritage museum of A.J. Krusenstern.

    Read further projects facts by running a search for EE0029 in the EEA and Norway Grants project database.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    Reconstruction of Kiltsi Manor School

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Conservation of European cultural heritage


    € 1,157,129



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project promoter:

    Väike-Maarja Rural Municipality

    Type of institution:

    Local authority

    Project website:

    Project duration:

    32 months

    Project cost:

    € 1,361,328

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    Norway Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    05 May 2008

    The purpose of the Project is to renovate the main building of the Kiltsi manor and thereby preserving the Kiltsi school and kindergarten, as well as to establish a museum of the heritage of A.J Krusenstam, with the overall objective of protecting European cultural heritage in Estonia. Reference is made to the application, dated 26 June 2007 and subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point dated 22 and 23 August, 22 October, 8 and 14 November 2007.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - Renovation works (i.e. facade, staircases, classrooms, sauna, gym, hall, library and reading room, museum rooms, recreation room, lobby, headmaster’s office, teacher’s office and secretary’s office, teacher’s room, walking room, first aid room, subsidiary rooms, cloakrooms and corridor),

    - Project management and publicity,

    - Procurement works (for renovation, interior and equipment),

    - Supervision of construction,

    - Developing the exhibition content,

    - Purchasing and installation of interior and equipment.

    The Project Promoter is Väike-Maarja Municipality. The Focal Point shall ensure that the Project Promoter provides at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible Project cost.