History of manor culture

A tremendous density of manor houses


The countryside in eastern North Germany is very extensive, and the agriculture fields are larger then elsewhere. The area beyond the river Elbe is the land of the large agricultural manor estates, which is unique in Europe. After Heinrich The Lion and his battles against the Slavic tribes, a relatively down-to-earth form of Mecklenburg Pomeranian nobility was formed. It’s no coincidence then, that the same family names appear again and again amongst those who received grants of land from the Mecklenburg and Pomeranian Dukes: The Oertzen, Maltzahn, Bülow, Plessen, Hahn, Bassewitz, Blücher, Wedel and Puttkammer families thus became great landowners. After further increase in the land ownership of the nobles due to the 30´s Year War, by the end of the 18th century, the typical, large noble manor estate was established as the dominant feature of the Mecklenburg and Pomerania countryside. Classical farming villages were seldom and had been largely replaced by the manor estate villages. The manor house (Gutshaus, Herrenhaus) was the focal point of the village, the various farm buildings, the dwellings of the estate workers, the church – often a patronage church of the lord, and the typical landscape parks, often rambling over large areas. These building collectives embedded in the wide-ranging Mecklenburg Pomeranian countryside remain to this day the definitive characteristic of the region. The political and social orientation to the East-Elbish manorial structure changed over the course of history. One thing is clear, however, it worked very well for hundreds of years.

Explore the lively hinterland
Only at the time after 1945 and specially after 1990 the seemingly unstoppable decline of the historically fascinating manorials startet with the separation of the buildings from the land. It still isn’t too late to preserve a large part of this treasure, which offers enormous touristic potential for the region. Nowadays visitors may choose between 1.500 Manor Houses to visit. A few hundred of them are offering a touristic offer. Manor Houses are used as hotels, B&B, Eventlocations or as holiday apartments. Some of them are museums or cultural venues with exhibitions, art or concerts. Some of them offer a luxurious standard, most of them are down to earth and very country house like.