Narva is the most eastern spot of Estonia, where you actually don’t hear the Estonian language a lot, but rather Russian. When you step on the banks of the river, you can even see Russia on the other side. This town is like a mix of cultures, literary where Russia meets Estonia.
Previously, Narva was not very popular amongst Estonians. Actually, many Estonians have been turning up their noses at Narva. The reason behind is the fact that it became a place where the majority of Estonian Russians live, and you don’t hear much the Estonian language being there. But it all changed when our first female president packed her bags and moved to Narva, just to bring Estonians and Russians living closer and integrate them. If just a year ago a half of the Narva population didn’t even know the name of Estonia’s president and didn’t feel engaged in the Estonian community, now it has all changed. And that made other Estonians see the beauty of Narva, as a part of Estonia.
Actually, Narva has been a border town from the Middle Ages, when it divided two civilizations – the Catholic European North and the Orthodox Slavic East. On one shore of the river stands Narva Castle, and on the other one the fortress of Ivangorod. They are so close but yet so far, culturally speaking. The castle itself is actually a real gem. It is the best-preserved defense structure in Estonia. You can visit the museum and get to know the history of Narva and the castle. During the summer, there are a lot of activities in the courtyard, workshops and shows. Although the bastions were closed for a long time, and these mysterious tunnel walls could only be seen from the outside, now you can also visit them.
As said, Russia is just across the river of Narva. So, it is a must to take a walk along a one-kilometer long promenade from the castle to the port. A walk in the fresh air is enjoyable in every weather, but it livens up, especially during the summer when many people walk, fish or do sports. Since Russians are mainly Orthodox, there are a lot of Orthodox churches in Narva. Step in the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, and take a look at the two miracle-working icons: Saint Nicolai and Mother of God.
But the most interesting is just to walk around and see for yourself how diverse Estonia is. If you want to relax after your day in Narva, just 14 kilometers away is a small, cozy resort Narva-Jõesuu, where you can soak up in one of the best spas in Estonia or swim in the sea.
Narva, where Russia meets Estonia, has been a hidden gem for many for a long time. But it is now being discovered, and there is a lot to see there.
Cover picture © Credit to: iStock/RAndrey
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