Kiltsi Castle

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Kiltsi Manorial Estate of Laane-Viru County, founded at the end of the 18th century, is one of the most magnificent and original manor estates in Estonia as well as one of the oldest in the Baltic countries. The castle was erected on the ruins of a medieval vassal stronghold from the 14th - 15th centuries. Although the stronghold in Kiltsi was small, without an inner court, its connection with the military events of the 16th century was remarkable. The most notable encounter at Kiltsi took place during the Livonian War, in the winter of 1558, between the troops of the Livonian Order and Russia. The Kiltsi landlord, Robrecht von Gilsen, organized effective resistance during this battle. By the end of the Livonian War, the stronghold lay in ruins and by 1600 it was no longer mentioned as a fortification.

The Gilsen family gave the estate its characteristically German name GILSENHOF.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Kiltsi was owned by several families, including the Asserini family, the Uexkulls, the Zoege von Manteuffels and the Rosens. In 1784 Major Hermann Johann von Benckendorff became the owner of the Kiltsi Estate. He constructed a new manor house in the early classical style, blending the new buildings with the old stronghold structures. Two crescent wings were added to the manor house to soften the ponderous style of architecture inherent to the former stronghold. The Benck endorff's coat of arms still decorates the façade of the castle.

Admiral's room. On 19 November, 1995, 225 years had passed since the birth of Admiral A.J. von Krusenstern. The A.J. von Krusenstern Fund celebrated this event on 16 November with the opening of a memorial room in the Kiltsi Castle. Krusenstern family representatives took part in the ceremony, including Katharina von Schnehen, from Germany, a sixth generation lineal descendant.
The memorial room, situated in one of the round towers of the castle, displays materials of the life and activities of A.J. von Krusenstern (1770 - 1846), his son Paul Theodor von Krusenstern (1809 - 1881), and grandson Otto Paul von Krusenstern (1834 - 1871). There are remarkable and rare items in the memorial room, including:
· A plate that Krusenstern brought with him from England in 1814
· An original lithograph made of the Admiral in France in the first half of the 19th century
· 22 original copperplates made for the atlas of Admiral von Krusenstern's voyage around the world
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