Cayla Joa Manor (Fall Castle)
Estonia, Keila

Keila-Joa Manor (Fall Castle) is located in Estonia, 26 km from Tallinn, on the territory of Harju County, in the village of Keila-Joa. The first mention of this place dates back to the 13th century, until the middle of the 16th century, the area belonged to the Order of the Swordsmen, in 1561 it became one of the allotments of the Revel fortress. Since the 17th century, Cale-Joa Manor has been replaced by many owners, including Ninkirchen, Wrangel, Tizengauzen, Dani and Bergi. In 1827, the estate was acquired by Count Alexander Khristoforovich Benkendorf - cavalry general, participant in the Patriotic War of 1812, chief of the gendarmes, head of the III department of his own Imperial Majesty the Chancellery. It was to him that the estate owed its fame and glory. Benckendorff invited the young architect Andrei Ivanovich Shtakenschneider to build a castle in Keila-Joa Manor (later Mariinsky, Nikolaev and Novo-Mikhailovsky palaces in St. Petersburg and many buildings in Peterhof will be built according to Shtakenschneider's projects). The construction of the castle in the Neo-Gothic style, which became fashionable under Emperor Nicholas I, was carried out in 1828-1831 - the asymmetric shape of the building, a twenty-meter octagonal tower crowned with battlements, lancet windows. A flag with the coat of arms of Benckendorff fluttered above the tower - three red roses on a blue and gold field and the motto "Perseverance" (Perseverance). The castle was built of local white stone and was painted pink with white stripes at the edges. The west side of the building was bordered by a large terrace, located on a wide porch and decorated with white marble lions and flowerpots. According to some descriptions, it was closed from the weather by glass and cast-iron grates. Around the castle was a garden with flower beds, statues were installed, including Venus by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. The castle began to be called the Fall castle, from the German word fallen (fall) - next to the castle is located the Keila waterfall, which was formed at the place where the Keila river overlooks steep rapids. In 1837, Benckendorf acquired the neighboring estates of Meremõisa and Käesalu, due to which the Falls Park was significantly expanded. Suspension bridges were built across the river (the author of the project of one of them was Aleksey Lvov), a natural terrace was created, arbors and "nominal" cast-iron benches were installed, numerous paths were laid. “It’s a marvelous place. On the semi-mountain there is a natural terrace, a green meadow goes down, on the sides of it is a forest, in front, below, behind a meadow, there is also a forest, and beyond this forest is the sea” - this is how Prince Sergey Mikhailovich Volkonsky, great-grandson of Alexander Benkendorf described Falls Park . Fall Castle twice (in 1828 and 1833) was visited by Nicholas I and personally planted several trees in the park. Often the estate was visited by members of the imperial family, statesmen and nobles, famous singers and poets. Noisy receptions and concerts were arranged in the columned hall. Here, one of the most famous singers of the XIX century, Henrietta Zontag sang, Alexey Fedorovich Lvov, the author of the music of the hymn "God Save the Tsar!", Visited repeatedly. There is a version that for the first time the anthem was performed at Fall Castle in 1833, during the visit of Emperor Nikolai Pavlovich. After the death of Benckendorf, the estate was inherited by his daughter Maria Alexandrovna, in the marriage Volkonskaya. The princely Volkonsky family owned Falla until 1923, until the estate was nationalized. The estate became the property of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and before that, in 1918, the estate was completely looted and destroyed. Vandals destroyed and destroyed everything they could, even the statue of Venus Antonio Canova was shot from rifles. Of all the former luxuries, only a jasper vase donated by Alexander Benkendorf Nicholas I survived. During World War II, Abwehr intelligence camp “Camp No. 2” was located in Fall Castle, the castle and the park were significantly damaged during the fierce battles of 1944. After the war, there was a sewing factory, a fishing farm, country cooperatives and a military unit. Keila-Joa Manor and the castle were in poor condition for many years. The estate was put up for sale at auctions several times, until in 2010 the National Heritage Fund acquired it. In the same year, work began on the restoration of the castle and Park Fall. Today the castle has been completely restored, the guest house, the church of Zachariah and Elizabeth and the stables are being reconstructed. A museum has been opened in the basement of the castle, its exposition is dedicated to extraordinary personalities with whom the history of Cale-Joa is inextricably linked - to Count Alexander Benckendorff, architect Andrei Shtackenschneider, representatives of the Volkonsky family of princes, heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812. Part of the exposition is dedicated to the national anthems of the countries of the world, including the first hymn of the Russian Empire "God Save the Tsar!" The castle hosts temporary art exhibitions, concerts, seminars, conferences, weddings. Not far from the Fall castle, in the park, on the mountain, are the graves of Alexander Benckendorf and members of the Benckendorf-Volkonsky family, who remained forever in their favorite estate.

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