This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
Affectionately known as the Pink Castle by locals, the Iskul Hildenbrand House looks like something straight out of a fairy tale. Its storybook-inspired nickname is actually quite fitting, as the House was originally built for an Estonian Baron of noble birth.
Baron Vladimir Iskul-Gildebrand was an influential nobleman whose family origins can be traced back throughout the Baltics and Scandinavia – his ancestors had been naturalized as aristocrats when they landed in the Russian Empire. In 1901, the Baron commissioned Ukrainian architect Mykola Vyshnevskyy to design his home.
The neo-Gothic style lends to its fairy tale appearance: Elegant towers climb high above its arched entrance and its facade bears the Estonian coat of arms. Down the street stands a manor home known as the Chocolate House built around the same time for entrepreneur and art patron Semen Mohylevzew.
Air strikes would destroy the Hildebrand House’s towers during WW2, and most of its wooden structural elements burned down. The House had to be reconstructed and renovated numerous times to bring it back to its original condition.
During the Soviet Era, the House was converted into community housing and began to deteriorate. Not until 2000 did the city reinstated the reconstruction of the House and to solidify it as a historic landmark. Since then, the exterior has since been restored, but interior repairs continue today with architects referring to archived 20th century photographs to achieve its restoration.
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