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Destination Details

Narva, Estonia

The Hermann Fortress, which looks across the Narva River to the Russian castle on the other side, is the best-preserved castle in Estonia. Narva is largely populated by Russian language speakers and the city has fine examples of Soviet architecture.

Narva is the only location in Estonia that offers an unobstructed view of Estonia’s neighbour Russia.

On the bank of the deep and rapid River Narva, at the border crossing with Russia, stands the powerful Hermann Fortress, the best preserved castle in Estonia. Nowadays it hosts the city museum where you can learn about the everyday life of ancient times and even make your own souvenirs using 17th century tools and techniques.

Narva was once called the “Baroque pearl of the Baltic Sea” but was almost completely destroyed in 1944 by Soviet aircraft raids explosions and fires set by retreating German troops.

Due to the heavy damage of the Second World War Narva had to be almost completely rebuilt. This is why today the city is dominated by Soviet architecture. Narva’s “modern” Town Hall, for example, is a prime example of typical Soviet architecture.

For several years following the reconstruction the Soviet authorities prohibited the return of Narva's pre-war residents which radically altered the city's ethnic composition. Nowadays over 90% of the current population are Russian-speakers, mostly either Soviet-era immigrants from parts of the former Soviet Union or their descendants.

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