Narva, the third largest Estonian city, is located on the Narva River, which serves as the Estonian-Russian border, 210 kilometres east of Tallinn and just 140 kilometres west of St. Petersburg. The city’s history is considered to have begun in 1223, the year when Narva Castle was founded by the Danes, while on the opposite bank the Russian city of Ivangorod and its fortress defiantly face Narva Castle. Narva was ruled for many years by the Livonian Order, though, after different wars, it was seized by the Russians (1558) and then by the Swedes (1581). In 1704, during the Great Northern War, Narva was conquered once again by Peter the Great and incorporated into the Russian Empire, something that would last for more than two centuries. Narva’s historical centre was considered a “Baroque Pearl,” but was almost entirely destroyed in 1944, when it was the scene of heavy fighting between German and Soviet troops during World War II. After the war the city was mostly rebuilt in the Soviet style, but there are still some remains from its glorious past. The city is peculiar in that more than 90% of its population is native Russian-speaking.
Stop at Narva and short panoramic tour. After a short walk along the old city walls above the Narva River, from which we can see the banks of the Russian side, we will discover the old town hall building. It was constructed in the 17th century in the northern baroque style.
Visit to Narva Castle. Narva Castle is the most famous and visited attraction in the city. Also called Herman Castle, it was built by the Danes on the banks of the Narva River. Initially made of wood, its construction began in the 13th century, though the Livonian Order later turned it into a convent. The Swedes then refitted it in order to make it one of their main fortresses in the fight against the Russian Empire. Its tower is more than 50 meters high, while the castle was carefully renovated after the damage sustained during World War II.
Visit to the Krenholm District. The Krenholm Manufacturing Company is still open, having originally begun operations in 1857 as the largest textile factory in Europe and the industrial pride of the Russian Empire, and Alexander’s Lutheran Church, dedicated to Russian Tsar Alexander II, was built in 1881-1884 in the neo-Romanesque style for the factory’s workers. Before the war, it was the largest church in Estonia and could hold up to 5000 people. Later, in 1890-1898, Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ was built in the byzantine style. It is interesting to note that it was the only city building to remain intact after the bombings of World War II. The Art Nouveau Hospital of Narva was dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the Romanov’s dynasty.