Hermann Castle

Narva, Estonia

Hermann Castle (also Hermannsburg, Herman Castle, Narva Castle, or Narva fortress) was founded in 1256 by the Danes and the first stone castle was built in the beginning of the 14th century. The German Livonian Teutonic knights order purchased the castle on 29 August 1346 and for most of its history the castle was German Teutonic.

Although the exact age of Narva Castle and the town cause still arguments between historians, they agree on the sequence of events. Firstly, in about the 13th century, the Danes, who had conquered Northern Estonia, built a wooden border stronghold at the crossing of the Narova River and the old road. Under the protection of the stronghold, the earlier settlement developed into the town of Narva, which obtained the Lubeck town rights in the first half of the 14th century.

Following several conflicts with the Russians, the Danes started building a stone stronghold at the beginning of the 14th century. It was a small castellum-like building with 40-metre sides and a tower, a predecessor of the today's Herman Tower, at its north-western corner. At the beginning of the 14th century, a small forecourt was established at the north side of the stronghold and, in the middle of the century, a large forecourt was added to the west side, where citizens were allowed to hide in case of wars as the town of Narva was not surrounded by a wall during the Danish rule.

In 1347 the Danish king sold Northern Estonia, including Narva, to the Livonian Order, who rebuilt the building into a convent building according to their needs. The stronghold has for the most part preserved the ground plan with its massive wings and a courtyard in the middle. The Herman Tower was also completed at the time of the Order, necessitated by the establishment of Ivangorod Castle by the Russians to the opposite side of the Narva River in 1492. The Order surrounded the town with a wall, which unfortunately has not been preserved (in 1777 there came an order to pull it down).

The Narva Castle is one of the main attractions of the city. The Narva Castle is the most diverse and best preserved defence structure in Estonia. The area of the castle is 3.2 hectares, and the highest point is the Tall Hermann Tower (51 metres). Today you can visit the museum in the castle, were the displays explain the history of Narva and the castle. There are handicraft workshops in the northern courtyard, where you can try your hand at various techniques and handicrafts.

Reference: Wikipedia, Visit Estonia


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Founded: 1256
Category: Castles and fortifications in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Chloe L (17 months ago)
Interesting experience seeing the border and the castle is beautiful. I would say, if you don't speak Russian or Estonian then you may want to get an audio guide in your language as most of the signs are in these 2 languages.
Karina Kisselite (2 years ago)
Very large castle, beautiful views from the top. You can wonder around for several hours. There are some modern exhibits plus also quite a lot of history is explained. They give an audio guide as well. Be prepared for bunch of stairs. There was a cafe and a souvenir shop. I quite recommend visiting the castle.
Nigel McKinley (2 years ago)
Beautifully restored Castle with central heating! A bit hot on the day I visited in August but must be lovely in winter. Unfortunately the audio guide only relates to the temporary exhibition and not on the castle itself. All permanent displays were in Estonian or Russian only.
Mira The Scientist (2 years ago)
I was born in Narva, but I left Estonia when I was around 18 years old. So, it's been around 12 years since I saw Hermann (=Narva) Castle (the white tower)! It is the most beautiful place in Narva in my opinion. It stands on Narva River which divides Estonia and Russia. When I was a child, I remember that the Castle had extensive collection of artefacts and items from various periods of time to showcase the history of Narva and the castle itself. I also remember that it was quite hard to climb upstairs for me! However, when I visited castle now, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they got elevator! The exhibitions are now skillfully curated to show different moments of Narva's history. It was great to see physical objects, 3D animations of the life in the medieval Hermann castle, 2D story of how life has changed over many centuries, and old movies of Narva. I loved the views from the top of the Castle! Apart from that, you can explore the yard of the Narva Castle, see various crafts displayed (you can buy them also), and gift shop. There are usually various craftspeople from Estonia and around the world in the summer time, but I missed them because there was preparation for a concert in the yard. I grabbed some traditional drink, kali (or kvass), which was poured in lovely mug. I had to drink it fast because I noticed swallows flying around, and I managed to photograph their chicks on the Castle's wall! The area around the castle is lovely for a walk. You can pass it and see "clock" scupture, for example. There's lots of swallows and seagulls flying around. If you fancy to explore seaside city called Narva-Joesuu, you can go to the port near the Castle and catch Caroline. Overall, if you have just a day in Narva, you definitely should visit this place. The history of Narva is really remarkable.
Jekaterina Jevdokimenko (2 years ago)
If you're into medieval stuff, you'll like it. Recommending to go to the tower, nice view and cool exhibition around the tower. Ticket is 'a bit' pricey but you know, all trying to stay afloat, so no biggie. + you get audio guide with you which adds to the experience.
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