History of the Manor

The name of Tērvete City first appears in the Livonian Chronicle of Henry.

The Hunting manor of Peter fon der Palen (Peter Ludwig von der Pahlen) is located in the very heart of Zemgale region, the historical centre of Tērvete City. The Manor which is surrounded by a park was built in the year 1900, initially having recreational purposes. Visitors of the Manor can enjoy its historical sentiment, as well as to revel in the beauty, peace and harmony of the surrounding hills and forests.

Peter fon der Palen became the governor of Kurzeme region, and for his outstanding work Pavil I (Paul I) awarded him with a Count title. Along with manors of Gaiļi and Lielauce, the emperor awarded Palen with Kalnamuiža, now Tērvete. Upon marrying Julianna fon Šepinga, the Count inherited two other manors – Īslīce and Kaucminde – as well. Peter fon der Palen had a magnificent career in both the military branch and civil service. Having participated in several crusades, he was promoted from being First Lieutenant to Inspector General of the Cavalry; after that he became Governor General of the Baltic provinces and Finland, and finished his career in politics as Minister of Interior of Russia. Peter fon der Palen also took part in a conspiracy against Pavil I due to his political beliefs. Palen passed away in the year 1826. He had five children.

The motto of the Palen family of Counts was ‘Constantia et Zelo’ – independence and dedication; we can see it in the life and career of Peter.

Currently there are several buildings that have remained in the Tērvete Hunting manor complex: a distillery (once a dairy), a two-story hewn boulder barn , an ice basement with a hewn boulder entrance part five meters deep, two servant buildings of stone by the manor, as well as a log house for the manager of the manor. The place of the entrance gate in the manor is still guarded by two cast iron lion statues. Standing on the wooden bridge on the hill-side, one can imagine how spectacular the pond complex of the manor was; the gully of the pond was laid with hewn boulder. There once was a decorated swan house built on the side of the pond. The boulder architecture of the houses shows the fine taste and imagination of the craftsmen of that time, being able to create very attractive houses.

After the Agrarian reform the Latvian Red Cross set up a sanatorium for curing those sick with tuberculosis in the Palen property; after the First World War, living conditions in Latvia were so poor that the morbidity of tuberculosis had become very high. 100 years prior to that it had already been established that Tērvete holds the lowest rate of rainfall of all Latvia, the sandy soil quickly absorbs the rainwater, and the air does not become humid. For those reasons the count Palen’ Hunting manor in Tērvete was bought and a sanatorium was set up in there for curing lung diseases. There were 50 bed places in the manor house for patients.

The translation of ‘Tērvete’ from Latin is ‘health’. It shows the unique value and role for the wellbeing and harmony of people that the place bears – both in ancient times and nowadays.