Ungru Manor – Ridala Parish, Estonia - Atlas Obscura
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Ridala Parish, Estonia

Ungru Manor

The gutted remains of this Estonian mansion are a monument to a tragic love. 

While it’s hard to see this in its current, dilapidated state, but at one point, Ungru Manor was the finest neo-baroque mansion in all of Estonia. But after it was stripped of materials to help build a nearby runway it is is simply a rotting husk, surrounded by a sad love story that never happened.

Created as a near-perfect copy of Merseburg Castle in Halle, Germany, the manor that remains today was built in the 1890s on the site of a manor that had been there since the 1500s. As the story goes, the son of Ungru’s owner visited Merseberg Castle and fell in love with the princess there. He proposed, but the princess was so fond of her father’s castle, she claimed that she was going to stay there forever, so the son returned home and vowed to recreate the German castle for her. He went back to Estonia and began construction, building out most of the structure including most of the exterior and its 11 gables. However before the interior could be finished, word came that the princess had died. The son himself died not long after in 1908. The house was left incomplete and without an owner.

The tragic monument sat empty and was slowly pillaged for valuables and materials by local scavengers. During Soviet rule of Estonia, an airfield for fighter jets was constructed nearby and the builders used the mansion as a source of raw materials. Today, the airfield is equally abandoned. 

Luckily, what remains of the estate is now protected from further destruction, so the site is not completely lost to history. The gutted remains are visible from a nearby highway and interested explorers can still visit them should the tragic origin fail to break their heart and cancel the trip.