Koitsanlahti Manor

 

Address:  Hovintie 93, 59310 Koitsanlahti    Map >>>

Closed until further notice.

 

 

Opened as a museum in 1966, Koitsanlahti Manor is located in Parikkala, on Highway 6. The museum has been closed since 1991 until further notice. The buildings and grounds of the Manor are under the management of the Finnish National Board of Antiquities and Historical Monuments.

Koitsanlahti Manor is Finland’s only ‘granted manor’, and as such, has a cultural heritage and history which are unique in the area which is now modern Finland. The Manor traces the history of the period when Sweden was a Great Power as well as the history of the ‘granted lands’, and the situation of Finnish peasantry from the 17th to the 19th century.

Originally, Koitsanlahti Manor was a State leasehold, founded in 1618 by Gustavus Adolphus, the King of Sweden (which then included Finland). In 1652, the Manor was bestowed to War Marshall Count Arvid Wittenberg; it remained in his family until 1680, at which time the fiefs were returned to the Crown’s ownership. From 1721, Koitsanlahti Manor was a ‘granted manor’ in the gift of the Russian rulers. Finnish peasants from Uukuniemi, Saari and Parikkala had to perform workday duties at the Manor; they opposed the harsh bailiffs of the ruler, and also rose up in revolt against them. In the courtyard of the Manor stands a memorial, “Stones of Tribulations”, which was erected there in 1958 to commemorate the suffering of past generations.

In 1801, the Russian Tsar rented the ‘granted lands’ of Koitsanlahti to Councillor of State Christoper Kniper who, in turn, sub-let the Manor. The situation of the Manor finally became more settled in 1823 when the Crown rented the building to Major Jacob Fredrik Lagervall for a period of 25 years. The main building of the Manor dates from this period. At the end of the lease in 1858, by decision of the Senate, the grant period of the Manor also came to an end, and peasants no longer had to carry out their workday duties at the house. However, it was not until 1919 that the new Land Reform Act transformed the Finnish peasants into independent smallholders.

Following Finland’s independence from Russia in 1917, Koitsanlahti along with its surrounding fields was owned by the Finnish State and let to agronomist Jarl af Björksten, and after his death, to his widow until 1945. After the war, the fields of the Manor were distributed to Karelian evacuees while the magnificent main building became home to Parikkala’s Cottage Industry School for men.

Koitsanlahti Manor has also been a great inspiration to writers. For example, two of Lempi Jääskeläinen’s books, Hovin vallat (The Powers of the Manor) and Talonpoika ja hovinherra (The Peasant and the Lord of the Manor) are set in the Manor. During its time as a museum, the Manor has succeeded in providing a rare insight into Finland’s manor house heritage, and the local history. As the Manor has changed hands so frequently, there remains very little of the original contents of the house. In the grounds of the museum, the visitor can explore both the main building and the outbuildings, all set amidst a glorious rural landscape.

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