NARVA AND EAST OF ESTONIA
Narva is a unique city, which has for centuries been a border crossing and melting pot 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 Estonian. Narva is the only place, where two warring cultures were so 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 not only of 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 given 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.
The East of Estonia County has the greatest concentration of lakes in Estonia at Kurtna. About 40 larger or smaller bodies of water are nestled in the gently rolling pine-clad terrain. The water is warmer than average in Estonia, tempting summer bathers. A short drive away from Kurtna, in the village of Kuremäe, you will discover the Pühtitsa Convent, Estonia’s only Orthodox convent, open to both tourists and pilgrims. A small Orthodox Christian church was built in Pühtitsa in the 16th century and the convent was founded in 1891. It now houses six churches. The site is claimed to be where a shepherdess witnessed a divine revelation near a spring of water. This water is claimed to have healing powers, it can be bottled and taken away.
Back to the north, to the town of Sillamäe, which during the Soviet regime in Estonia was closed to the public because of its chemical factory which produced nuclear materials for Soviet nuclear power plants and weapon facilities. Now Sillamäe offers a classic example of Stalinist city planning, its grand boulevard leading from the central square to the sea offers an atmospheric trip back to the 1950s. Continuing east, the next coastal town of Narva- Jõesuu is located alongside Estonia’s longest bathing beach, backed by dunes and pines. This former spa town, frequented at one time by Russian nobility is now increasingly popular with summer tourists. Narva-Jõesuu is the north-eastern end of the E9 European Coastal Path, which runs for 5,000 km (3,125 miles) from Cabo de São Vicente in Portugal.
Source: Estonia Tourist Board – Visit Estonia
Here’s a sampling of major yearly recurring events in Narva:
Narva Spring Fair
A traditional fair organised in the courtyard of Narva Castle with plenty of local products for sale.
For more info visit the official website www.narvalaat.ee
The most exciting event in June is traditionally held on the first weekend of the month. A traditional festive parade, sports and cultural events, exhibitions, trade and artisan fairs, and lots of entertainment for the whole family.
For more info visit the official website www.narva.ee
Folk holiday “St John’s night”
The favourite national holiday – Midsummer Night bonfires are kindled all over Estonia, everybody is singing, dancing and drinking Midsummer ale all night long! The one who finds the fern flower, which according to legend blooms only on Midsummer’s Night, finds wealth and happiness. Common belief says that staying up all night secures well-being for all in the coming year.
International Bike Fest „NARVA BIKE“
Every year Narva Castle transforms into a real bikers paradise – legendary retro bikes and performances of the Preobraženskiv regiment are only a part of this magnificent and mighty show! Over a thousand proud bikers, on their shiny machines, gather in Narva, and for most of them this event is firmly fixed in the bikers’ calendar.
For more info visit the official website magnumnarva.ee
The Narva historic festival
Every August 300 years old history is relived. At Narva Castle there is a military camp on the mount, formation flying and a demonstration of arms. Everything is set up for the main event – the Great Northern war battles of 1700 and 1704, which wrote Narva into European history. One of the battles is re-enacted, 17th and 18th century Russian and Swedish soldiers war with each other. In a temporary military camp in the Western Yard all the participants in the battle live life exactly like centuries ago. There’s a market with busy craftsmen and everyone can taste ancient food and drinks. In the Northern Yard many workshops help you make souvenirs with guidance of master craftsmen or you can just buy ones made by them. Lacework, joinery, ceramics, blacksmith workshops and Apothecaries open their ancient doors to bring history closer to present day.
For more info visit the official website www.narvamuuseum.ee