Estonia, Tower-Castle Vao
Tower-castle Vao – a tower in Estonia, related to the locks in the style of donjon. Presumably it was built in the second half of the 14th century. In the territory of Livonia in those days castles of this type were not uncommon. They were built in places where there was no need for serious protection. It is believed that the tower-castle Vao was built to protect land and waterways and as an outpost in the case of peasant insurgencies. After the uprising of the St. George’s night in 1343, feudal lords paid much attention to the construction of such towers. Up to our time there were only 2 such castles – Vao and Kiyu.
The tower of Vao is quadrangular, built of local limestone. Judging by the thickness of the walls, the castle was not designed for serious military operations. The castle-bath is located on the edge of the former manor park, next to the river, which is the source of the Põltsamaa River. If you count the basements, the tower is four-story. The basements are vaulted.
Earlier on the first floor in the basement was a storage room, in which ammunition was stored. The second floor was representative, the third was occupied by living quarters, and the fourth floor was intended for defensive purposes. In addition to warehouses, the basement had a toilet, a bathing room, a chapel and a fireplace, which indicates that this tower was the permanent residence of the vassal.
Since 1744, the tower has become the property of the genus Adler von Rennenkampf. They were the owners of the castle of Vao until 1939.
In 1986, the castle tower was restored by the Vao collective farm. From 1991 to 1997 in the castle operated a museum on the private initiative of Janis Tobreluts. In 1998, a new exposition was organized in the castle in cooperation with the museum Väike Maarja. In the museum of the tower you can learn about the history of the castle, the estate itself, as well as the villages located next to the estate. In addition, in the tower you can see the photos of the restoration process of the castle, the arms of the families that lived in Vao. In addition to the above, the museum has a lot of information about the genus Rennenkampf, the last of the Ostsee Germans who lived in the estate, which is devoted to the exhibition on the first floor.
The interior of the castle is made in the medieval spirit, in the center of the room is a table with chairs, studded with wild boar skin. Metal lamps, decorated with stained-glass windows on the walls and ceiling of the dates, the original cross-shaped illumination. On the top floor you can see the pictures, which depicts people in medieval costumes.
There is a legend that tells that from Vao in Kiltsey there is an underground passage, the length of which is about 3 km. The move itself could not be detected, however, in the 20th century, on the landlord’s field, there were supposedly found long depressions, leading from north to south, which were covered with earth.