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In Narva's centuries-old history the most powerful countries of Europe have fought with each other for the city's ownership right. The masters of the city of Narva have been Denmark, German order, Sweden, Russia during different times.

Serious military activities took place around the city. Therefore Narva has always been a fortress. The fortification of Narva started in 70ies of XIII century when Narva stronghold was set up on the steep coast of the order by the Danes. In the middle of XIV century the stronghold was passed into the hands of the German order and was rebuilt into "convention house" typical of such architecture.

The castle got its final shape at the beginning of XV century in the course of military-architectural competition with Ivangorod castle. The castle is characterized by powerful tower (height over 50 m) which has got the name of Long Hermann. At the end of XIV century the city walls secured with watchtowers were completed. Together with Ivangorod castle, Narva castle forms a historical-architectural ensemble of over-European importance.

most well-known military-historical event related to Narva took place in 1700. This was a famous Narva battle wherein the Swedish army lead by young king Karl XII defeated the numerous Russian troops of Tsar Peter I. Just the victory under Narva made Karl XII famous as the talented commander.

This battle was of material importance not only for the Swedish country but also for Russia as the first battle of the Russian regular army in its history. The historical battlefield is topographically recognizable also now. For the second time the name of Narva was heard in the course of the Northern War in 1704 when Narva fortification was conquered by assault by Peter I troops. The battlefield of the Northern War is currently marked by the monuments.
In the European history Narva is known as the traditional centre of international trade. River Narva was in-driven along the waterway already during the Vikings (V-XI century) and depicted one branch of the famous Baltic-Mediterranean riverway which is called the "Road from Varangians to Greece" by the Old Russian manuscripts. Later (from XIII century) the inland road from Tallinn to Novgorod crossing Narva was actively used. On this road, in the crossway of the river, the trading settlement was established in XIII century which got the status of the city thanks to the privilege of the Danish king Valdemar IV Atterdag. Thus the city of Narva started.

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