History of Narva

At various times the hosts of Narva were Denmark, the Knights of the Germanic Order, Sweden, and Russia. Very often military engagements took place in Narva environs. That is why the town had always been a fortress.

The fortification of Narva began in the 70’s of the XIII century when the Danes laid down Narva Castle on a steep bank of the river. In the middle of the XIV century it passed to the Knights of the Germanic Order and was reconstructed into a type of fortification known as “House of the Convent,” which was typical for the military architecture of the Order. The Castle acquired its finished look in the beginning of the XV century during the course of its military and architectural rivalry with Russia’s Ivangorod Fortress. The architectural appearance of the Castle is characterized by a mighty tower (more than 50 meters in height) that has the name of Pikk Hermann (i.e. Tall Herman).

The Swedes were most active in improving Narva Castle in XVII century. In the first half of the century they constructed bastions of Italian and German types, whereas in the 80’s of the XVII century they got involved in the grandiose construction of a new defensive line. This consisted of French-type bastions designed by the prominent Swedish military engineer and architect, Eric Dahlberg. In this way, the fortification system of Narva Castle was finally formed and essentially was preserved without any changes until the mid-XIX century. At present, the defensive and engineering works of Narva have no equal either in diversity or in state of preservation. Narva Castle and fortifications together with Ivangorod Fortress form a historic architectural ensemble of European importance.

About Narva


The city of Narva 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. The city was founded in the year 1223.


The population of Narva is 64 667 people. Population structure by nationality is 4% of Estonians, 82% Russians and 14% of other nationalities. Population density is 765 people/km2.

Narva is a unique city, which has for centuries been a border crossing and melting pot for different nations and states. Nowadays you will also meet different cultures, both old and new. Forming a unique architectural ensemble in Northern Europe Narva is the only place in the world, where two fortresses are so close to one another, only an arrow flight away across the river, facing each other – the 14th-17th century Germanic Order castle with bastions and defensive walls and 15th century Russian fortress.

Opportunities and challenges

Present city projects

1.Narva riverside promenade construction, incl. bastions’ walls strengthening
2.Tourist product “Viktoria bastion casemates” exposition development
Strengths / Knowledge partner on the themes

1.More than fifty years experience in Narva fortifications restoration and restoration activities, conservation and preservation of objects incl. wooden structures prosthesis, masonry injection
2.Development of tourist products on basis of tourist products, e.g. Northern Yard in Narva Castle
Need for more information about:

1.Measures for maintenance and preservation of exploitable and non-exploitable historical objects
2.Development of tourist products on basis of historical objects.

Contact person town office:

Municipality of Narva
Georgi Ignatov
Department for Development and Economy, Director

Peetri pl. 3-5
Narva 20308

       +372 35 99041

Political representative

Municipality of Narva
Tarmo Tammiste
Peetri pl. 5
Narva 20308

       +372 35 99013

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