LyganusekirikDuring the ancient independence time, before the crusades to the area of Estonia in the 13th century, the area consisted of ancient counties which existed independently from each other and did not form a state. At that time there were 4 small and 8 big ancient counties in the area of Estonia, one of which was also ancient Viru county (Wierland) with its 11 parishes, in the areas of today´s East and West Viru Counties.

The current East Viru County consists mostly of 4 ancient parishes:
– Lüganuse,
– Jõhvi,
– Vaivara and
– Iisaku.

In the Middle Ages one parish was formed of a population which was concentrated to a church (one priest). The centre of a parish was the church which was usually built of stone. Within the parishes one by one there were formed manors which land was given to vassals mostly of German origin, and in exchange participation of warfare was required.

In later centuries the land became inheritable – the successors of the vassals became the Baltic noblemen (landlords) with their rights which belonged to the ownership of a knight´s mansion. About five hundred of the 1245 manors of Estonia (except church mansions) were formed in the Middle Ages.
Source: Portal “Estonian Manors”

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