1. The ancient settlement (inhabited area, cemetery, Sõeru sacrificial spring)
Right around here where you‘re now standing people have lived, farmed the land and conducted their other activities for over 3500 years. On the field across the road behind you is the mound of an underground cemetery called Surnumäe (or Dead Hill) dating back to the same era, the beginning of the second millennium BC. The mound was also used as cemetery later when the 1710-1711 plague victims were buried there. Many worship stones have been found here, which also confirms this as a location of ancient habitation.
The Sõeru sacrificial spring can be found in the meadow of the former Kubja farm. People say that this spring-water was used for healing the eyes. If you have any concerns regarding your eyes it’s certainly worth giving the spring water a try.
2. Manor, cross-marked boundary stone of three Manors
In olden times, both the Vanamõisa manor and village, bore the name Kerguta, which was first mentioned in the Great Estonian List of the Danish Census Book in 1241. Kerguta was still used as the village name at the end of the 19th-century but the mansion has been known as Vanamõisa since 1556, at which time it was recorded as a sub-manor of Saku – consisting of three farms each with its own ploughland. Vanamõisa became an independent manor again in the 17th century and the last manor house was built around 1760. Many different landlords have held the Vanamõisa lands over the years, however, they rarely lived at the manor themselves. More often, the actual running of the estate was left to the lessees or seneschals, local stewards. In the more recent past, the manor house served as a collective farm office and dwelling for workers, finally collapsing in the 1970s. Today its former location can hardly be discerned in the brush. A boundary stone bearing the sign of a cross, and presumed to mark the point where the borders of Vanamõisa, Harku and Lehmja manors met, has been found in the forest close to the Sõeru sacrificial spring.
3. Kleiso Mart (including ancient farms and families)
Due to the Great Northern War, famine, and plague, the farms of Vanamõisa village were mostly deserted by 1712, out of original 16 farms, only two homesteads remained, while out of 115 villagers only 4 survived, among them was Mart, the master of Kleiso farm. The oldest known families of Vanamõisa – Kleius and Meenkov – are both descended from him and his wife Anne, while almost all other long-established local families have joined these two through marriage. Currently the 12th-14th generations of Kleiso Mart’s descendants still live in Vanamõisa, as well as elsewhere in Estonia and around the world.
4. Railway Station
In 1872, which was the second year of operation for the Tallinn-Paldiski railway line, a new stop called Friedrichshof platform was established between Vanamõisa village and the fields belonging to Saue manor. That event gave a big boost to the development of this locality. The township requested changing the name of the platform upgrading it to Saue half-station in 1912, and around the same time the station building was erected. A garden suburb arose on the lands of Saue and Vanamõisa near the station in the 1920s. In the 1950s the only telephone set in this locality was in the station building, and this could be used by Saue and Vanamõisa residents only in extreme emergencies.
5. Finding Silver
During construction of a radio-station on the Miku farm lands in 1913, the Vanamõisa treasure – two cauldrons of silver coins and oserings, or silver ringlets, – was found. The coins were Arab dirhams from 9th-10th century, one coin weighing 3 grams. 915 silver coins and their pieces along with 7 silver oserings, found their way to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. For a long time this remained the largest Estonian treasure ever found, as there was a total of 10 kg of silver in two cauldrons.
The radio-station, jokingly called the White House, stayed empty after the First World War and as the current school road was too long for children, the more forward-thinking local farmers were able to start a new school in the White House. The school opened as a private establishment in 1921 and became the Saue state elementary school in 1923. Settlements within 3-kilometer radius of the school were included in the school district. Education and wisdom were shared at the White House until 1974. Since then local kids have been studying at Keila and Tallinn schools.
6. The open-air centre
In 2001 Vanamõisa resident Raivo Viidu gave a piece of land to the village for use as a bonfire site, selling it to them for the symbolic price of one Estonian kroon. Five years later some active villagers started to develop this site in earnest. A number of request for development grants were written and assistance was also received from the township government. Step by step, the village bonfire site turned into the Vanamõisa open-air centre. The complex includes a spacious stage for singing, a grill-house, children’s playground, basketball court, village swing, and a large log hall; there is also a skating rink in the winter, along with skiing and sledging slopes.
The Vanamõisa handicraft fair takes place at the open-air-centre every August. It was started in 2003 and has now grown to be the largest handicraft fair in Estonia, bringing together more than 500 traders and about 15,000 visitors from all over Estonia annually. Along with the Handicrafts fair, a summers-end party with a varied program takes place. In wintertime, the centre becomes a real Christmas land complete with elves and Santa Claus.
Next to the open-air centre, there is a Caravan Park for 80 caravans and trailer houses. You can also spend the night here in tents and cabins.