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About Estonia » Narva


Some facts: The city of Narva (pop. 67 000) is situated in the north-east of Estonia, on the border with Russia, 212 km to the east of Tallinn and 150 km to the west of Saint Petersburg. The city stands on the left bank of the Narva River, 14 km away from the place where the River flows into the Gulf of Finland. Narva is on the territory of Ida-Viru county of Estonia and is the largest city in the northeast Estonia.
History: Founded during the Danish rule of northern Estonia in the 13th century, the castle and surrounding town of Narva became a possession of the Livonian Order after 1347. Captured briefly by Russians in 1555, Narva changed hands a few times, and after 1581 was controlled by Sweden. The city was reconquered by Russia in 1704 and remained in the Russian Empire until Estonian independence in 1918. Across the Narva River there is a Russian Ivangorod fortress, founded by Great Duke Ivan III of Muscovy in 1492 and sometimes referred to as Counter-Narva. During the Soviet times Narva and Ivangorod were twin cities, despite belonging to different republics. Before World War II, Ivangorod (in Estonian known as Jaanilinn) was part of Narva.
Town: The frontier location of Narva is the most characteristic feature of both the past and the present of the town. By the Middle Ages the historic border has been already running there, along the banks of rapid river swiftly flowing its waters out the Lake Peipsi into Baltic Sea and dividing the two civilizations – the Catholic European North and Orthodox Slavonic East. However, the border is not a mere line that separates, but also a place where two cultural worlds meet, mutually influence and interpenetrate each other. It seems as the history had materialized in Narva in its architectural ensemble, uncommon in beauty and dramatic effect, that integrates the opposites and is unique in the whole Europe two giants of stone towering in close vicinity to each other two opposite banks (at distance of an arrow flight or that of a musket shot) the castle of Order of Germanic knights and the Russian fortress of Ivangorod. Being the opposites in the architectural style, however, these make up integral ensemble. The town of Narva is located in an extremely picturesque place. In about 2 km upstream from Narva and Ivangorod Fortresses there is an unique object of nature. It is the Narva Waterfall, whose spillway capacity is one of the largest in northern Europe. In only 12 km from Narva, o coast of the Gulf of Finland, Narva-Jõesuu, small cosy spa town, is located. From as early as the beginning of the XIX century it grew into a favorite place for the Saint-Petrsburg aristocracy to recreate in. At present sanatoria for the health recreation, hotels, holiday homes, campings are capable of receiving several thousand guests. Favorable balneological climate, pine forest, spacious beach with the fine golden sand, cool and clean water of the Baltic Sea – all these makes the coast of Gulf of Finland extremely attractive place for recreating there.