Narva is located at Estonia's easternmost point and was once considered to be one of Northern Europe's most beautiful cities. Built in the Baroque style, its beauty rivalled that of Tallinn's Old Town earning it the moniker "Baroque pearl of the Baltic Sea". Estonia's beloved chess genius, Paul Keres, was born here in 1916.
World War Two forever changed the face of Narva. In 1944 the city was completely razed to the ground when the Soviets reoccupied and annexed Estonia, driving out the Germans who had also occupied the country 3 years before. Much of the destruction took place on 6th March 1944 when Soviet warplanes dropped thousands of bombs on the old city. Retreating Germans also set fire to many remaining buildings and only three were left standing once the war was over.
Narva's original Estonian inhabitants who had fled the hostilities were forbidden from returning to their city and migrant workers from different regions of the Soviet Union were settled there instead.
The city has almost no resemblance nowadays to the Narva of yesteryear. If you are interested in catching a glimpse of Narva in its former glory the "Vana Narva" (Old Narva) website has an excellent collection of old photographs, showcasing the beautiful city that once was.
Click here to view the Old Narva photo gallery: Vana Narva