Uhti Inn

Fr. Tuglas kõrtsi ees 1938

Ülenurme Parish, Tartu County

A small stone inn with a single stable is located near the Tartu-Võru road. The inn situated at the old crossroads is popularly known as Valge-Reola or Valge inn. The inn dates back to the beginning of the 19th century.

The building is 27 m long, including a 14 m residential part, and 13 m wide. A high gable roof and a classicist fa?ade.

There is an overhang with two simple paired columns and two single columns in front of the residential part of the building. Twin windows are fitted with shutters made of vertical boards on bars. The stable’s gates are in a low doorway with a segmental arch and are clad with a herringbone pattern. The walls of the stable are decorated with three low ornamental cornices.

The overall construction is violated by a modern residential building adjoined to the residential part (Estonian Architecture. Tartu County, 1999).

The first mention of the Uhti village dates back to the year 1299 (Huchten). The Reola manor (1522, Rewold) and its park are located within the village borders.

More on the history of the Uhti inn based on cost-effectiveness study:

The Uhti (Valge) inn is located on the territory which belonged to the Reola manor, at the junction of the Vastseliina (Kirumpää) and Otepää (Kambja) roads; at one time it was also called the Reola inn. Generally, historical sources address the Reola manor together with the Uhti manor, which is closely linked to it economically.

In the years 1801-04 there were three inns on the territory of the Reola manor, all of them located near the Tartu-Võru road. There was also the Pusepera inn on the territory of Ülenurme nearby, and a little further from the Reola demesne in the direction of Võru one could find the Kolga inn. A watermill and an inn which belonged to the Kambja manor were located in the valley of Tatra. According to data from the year 1905, there was another inn not far from the Lepiku manor. If we look back in time even further, then the first mention of an inn on the territory of the Reola manor dates from the first half of the 17th century. Materials of the land revision of 1638 mention two inns which belonged to the Reola manor: one of them was located near the Kirumpää road, the other one – in the Uhti village.

The 1693-94 map of Livonia marks five inns from Tartu to Reola. The 1695 road atlas of the Tartu County does not have the Valge inn in Uhti marked. In any case, the inn here will be marked a century later in Mellin’s atlas (1798) (see map 1) and on later maps. Based on this evidence we can conclude that on a comparatively small territory there had been no less than seven inns, from which only the Uhti inn has survived to this day. The other inns are destroyed, and it is not possible to determine their exact location.

As the inn industry is directly connected to the manor, we are going to briefly describe the history of the Reola manor. In legal documents and publications the Reola manor is always mentioned together with Uhti. In 1522, the Bishop of Tartu, Johannes, gave the Reola manor as fief to Vogt Peter Stackelberg. His son, Tartu cathedral provost, sold the Reola family estate to Johann Zöge for 3000 Riga marks in 1546. In 1554, the manor is called Suure-Reola (Gross-Rewold). The manor ownership in Polish times is unclear at times. In 1630, the Swedish king Gustav Adolf gave Reola to Sigmund Becker, who sold it to the citizen of Riga, Heinrich Wulff, that same year. In 1632, Reola was purchased by Johann von Ulrich – a royal judge and a count with many other titles. During the land revision of 1638 the owner of the manor was his son, Wilhelm von Ulrich. The first accounts of inns (one of which was located in the Uhti village) date to that time. A Latvian innkeeper by the name of Jane paid the manor (per year?) one barrel of rye, one barrel of barley and two days of work for using 1 ha of land. She had a horse and a cow.

The oldest map of lands of the Uhti manor dates to the end of the Swedish rule, the year 1688, however the center of the manor is marked by a conventional symbol and only the barn is marked as a separate building. The inns are marked by a conventional symbol on the 1693-94 Livonian map which shows all inns and manors along the Tartu-Kirumpää-Vastseliina road. There are Reola and Uhti manors, as well as two inns near the Reola manor: the Uhti inn (Uchtkrug) and another inn in the direction of Tartu. It is impossible to determine their more exact location in nature, although, presumably, they can be associated with the corresponding buildings of the 19th century.
During the reduction (the return of manors to Swedish rule in the 17th century) the Reola manor remained untouched, and has stayed under the ownership of the Ulrich family for a long time. It was only in the year 1746 that Reola and Uhti were sold to baron Martin Gustav Scholz for 13,700 rubles.

Some data on the inns relates to the year 1803. Uhti’s innkeeper Rubbie Jüri was 50 years old, and the innkeeper of Leppiku was Kanniko Ado, 55. In 1805, the inn of the Uhti’s manor was rented out to a free Russian, Ivan Arhipoff. The same rent for the manor was paid by a Russian innkeeper in Reola, Feodor Ivanov. That same year, 1805, the innkeeper of the Uhti inn was a certain Marry, and the innkeeper of Leppiku – Grete. Apparently, 1806 was the year when the rental agreements were entered into, however it is uncertain which agreement was entered into later and remained in force. A striking fact in the documents is that one inn is called the Uhti inn, and another – the Uhti manor inn. If we take the 1801-1804 map as a basis, then there is one inn called Ucht Krug, and another one not far from the manor (Ucht Hoflage) is called simply Krug. The latter has a mill and a road which leads from the inn to Kambja. The contemporary Uhti inn can be identified as the Uhti manor inn of the beginning of the 19th century by the manor, the windmill, and the road.

In 1835, Reola and Uhti manors were purchased by count Georg Canerin for 125,000 silver rubles. Their demesne expanded at the expense of neighboring manors. Reola and Uhti were sold to Stäel-Holsteins in 1865.

As of 1890, the owner of the manors was a Tartu citizen, Friedrich Joachim Hübbe, who also owned three inns. Two of them are described in the list of buildings compiled in 1894: manor inn with residential rooms and a stable, and the similar Uhti inn. The former is made of wood and stone, with a stone roof; the latter is made of stone with shingle roofing. The list does not have any clarification as to which Uhti inn it refers to. The last owners before the agrarian reform were von Krause.

At the turn of the century major changes took place in the organization of sale of wine and vodka products. With the establishment of liquor monopoly many inns have closed down, and many of them continued to exist as stores.

Valge (white) inn in Uhti is a brick building with a stable. Apparently, the inn owes its name to its plastered and whitewashed walls. The residential part of the inn is narrower than the stable, while the roofing which covers the whole building is the width of the stable. Thus, there is an overhang in front of the residential part of the inn which is based on paired Tuscan columns (one of them is destroyed by now). The front fa?ade of the stable is decorated with three large blind arches. The stable gates in the form of a shallow arch are halfway under the overhang, with a sloping corner block, which connects the inn and the stable. The sidewall of the stable also has blind arches and gates (the sidewall is currently concealed by a temporary extension). Originally the building was covered with a hip roof, but it was later reconstructed into a gable roof. Aside from the altered form of the roof, the inn’s construction is violated by an extension made of silicate. The extension is narrower than the inn’s residential part, and the sidewall with the blind arch is still visible. In addition to the columns and the blind arches, crown cornice with a large profile plays an important role as an element of décor. The original interior division of rooms in the inn is more or less preserved: one partition runs along the building, and two partitions – across. There is a small vaulted cellar underneath the inn.

Based on the study by K. Aluve on Estonian rural inns, there are three types of inns in Estonia: inns without a stable, inns with one stable, and inns with two stables. The predominant part of surviving inns is comprised of inns with one or two stables. Such inns are marked by an overhang in front of the residential part of the inn.

From the above one can conclude that the Uhti inn is of a very common type of inns in terms of general construction. The time of its construction can be determined more precisely by the décor elements. The external design of the inn has elements of the classicism period: Tuscan columns (although without an extension) in front of the overhang, arched windows and decorative elements of the fa?ade on the walls of the stable and the sidewall of the residential part of the inn, drip cornice. All these elements point to the time of construction in the middle of the 19th century. The interweaving of peasant house building with popular architecture of that period is evident here.

The inn is protected by the state as an architectural monument. In 1989, the KRPI (Kultuurimälestiste Riiklik Projekteerimise Instituut – State Institute for Designing Cultural Monuments) has compiled historical summary along with special conditions for restoration at the request of the Ülenurme state farm. The state farm had plans to adapt the building for a shop/dining room, however due to the end of the collective economy activity the plans remained unfulfilled.

The current owner of the building is the Ülenurme Parish. The Ülenurme Parish had been searching for an appropriate function and a leaser for the building, until a suitable form of cooperation was found with the company MTÜ Uhti Küla Süda lead by Kai Paks. According to the new plans of the Uhti inn and within the framework of the present project, the building is expected to play the role of a so-called Open Studio. Everything manufactured on the spot can be purchased. Besides, here you can watch masters at work, creating art and doing handiwork. You can also learn and try your hand at it.

Special conditions for heritage conservation were compiled in 2005. The use of the inn’s old building in this way also supports the concept of tourism development on the Põlvamaa segment of the Tartu-Võru postal road.