Narva is the only location in Estonia that offers an unobstructed view of Estonia’s neighbour Russia.
If it was not for the River Narva, the former occupying power would be even closer.
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.
There’s plenty to see and do in Narva: concerts, annual festivals and open-air shows that take place both in the inner yard of the Narva Castle and elsewhere in the town, such as in the newly-built ice skating stadium. Popular events include Mravinski's International Music Festival (May), Narva Town Days (July) and Narva History Festival (August).