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Europe starts here

History and interesting facts about Narva

Narva is a unique city, which for centuries has been a border crossing and meeting point for different nations and states. Nowadays you will meet different cultures, both old and new. It is the historic border where East meets West which has forged Narva`s specific character creating its` uniqueness. The border is not really a barrier but more of a happy meeting place for different nations, states and cultures.


A diverse military history has marked Narva – it has been a fortress town, ruled over by Danes, Germans, Swedes, Russians and Estonians. Narva is the only place, where two warring cultures were this close to one another – the 14th-17th century Germanic Order castle with bastions and defensive walls and 15th century Russian fortress face each other, only an arrow flight away across the river. There is a combination of unique architectural styles from Northern Europe. In 1700 the Battle of Narva started the historic Great Northern War, which changed the destiny of not only Narva, but the whole of Europe.


Narva has always been a centre of international trade, outside of its military past. In Viking times the trade route named in ancient chronicles as „The Way from Varangians to Greeks“ started here. Later Narva was an important staging post on the road from Tallinn to Novgorod. In 1345 the trading settlement was granted town status. Narva`s golden age was in the 17th century Under the Swedish rule; when the downtown area, with its` unique architecture, was built. Unique Baroque styles of architecture gave Narva the festive appearance of an important town. Unfortunately, after World War II, only a fraction of its former glory survived.

Last updated: 15.12.2022

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