The frontier location of Narva is the most characteristic feature of both the past and the present of the town. By the Middle Ages the historic border has been already running there, along the banks of rapid river swiftly flowing its waters out the Lake Peipsi into Baltic Sea and dividing the two civilizations – the Catholic European North and Orthodox Slavonic East.
However, the border is not a mere line that separates, but also a place where two cultural worlds meet, mutually influence and interpenetrate each other. It seems as the history had materialized in Narva in its architectural ensemble, uncommon in beauty and dramatic effect, that integrates the opposites and is unique in the whole Europe> two giants of stone towering in close vicinity to each other two opposite banks (at distance of an arrow flight or that of a musket shot) the castle of Order of Germanic knights and the Russian fortress of Ivangorod. Being the opposites in the architectural style, however, these make up integral ensemble.
«An intensive tension is still reigning between the two fortresses, which watch over each other along the both banks of the river; now these rival only in architecture, but there was time when they were being fortified due to quite real reasons… In vigorous antithesis between West and the East the enchanting reflection of heroic deeds and historic fates still exists over Narva, hardly ever it might disappear some day». These are the words written more than half a century ago by the historian of Narva architecture Stean Karling, Swede.
The town of Narva is located in an extremely picturesque place. In about two kilometers upstream from Narva and Ivangorod Fortresses there is an unique object of nature. It is the Narva Waterfall, whose spillway capacity is one of the largest in northern Europe. In only 12 kilometers from Narva, o coast of the Gulf of Finland, Narva-Jõesuu, small cosy spa town, is located. From as early as the beginning of the XIX century it grew into a favorite place for the Saint-Petrsburg aristocracy to recreate in. At present sanatoria for the health recreation, hotels, holiday homes, campings are capable of receiving several thousand guests.