In 2023, the large-scale reconstruction project of the Western Courtyard at Narva Castle came to an end.

This project, ER3, was supported by the Estonian EU External Border Programme and led by Narva Museum. 

The main objective of project ER3 was to enhance the business and living environment by boosting the competitiveness of Narva Castle as a cultural and tourism product. Through the restoration of historical heritage and making it more accessible to the public, the project's activities helped to create better conditions for local and regional SMEs, benefiting from an increase in tourist numbers.

Key results of the ER3 project included:
  • Necessary construction projects were prepared;
  • The Western Courtyard, a major part of the castle territory, was reconstructed, significantly improving mobility and transport facilities (including making the area accessible for people with special needs, installing new information stands, setting up new outdoor lighting, etc.). Pedestrian movement is planned around the perimeter of the Western Courtyard, allowing visitors to sequentially access all sites within the courtyard. The network of footpaths is designed for slow movement and immersion. Using the ground relief, one side of some paths is designed as a long bench (along the southern wall, in front of the convent building's west wing);
  • Archaeological investigations were conducted in the Western Courtyard, uncovering several significant findings (including cellars, passages, building foundations, etc.);
  • Infrastructure was built in the Western Courtyard for hosting large events. The central area of the courtyard remains a spacious lawn suitable for large events. The location of an 18th-century structure in the southwest corner of the Western Courtyard is marked with textured granite slabs, helping to zone the courtyard for events of different characters and sizes;
  • The castle's external walls were restored (including the construction of modern restrooms in the wall spaces, reconstruction of the entire western wall gallery roof, etc.);
  • A new staircase and ramp from the South Tower to Narva River promenade and Joaorg recreational area were built, creating a direct connection between the museum territory and Narva Joaorg;
  • The Italian-style Kristervalli bastion was restored, and a new permanent exhibition was created there;
  • Cooperation was enhanced among various partners of Narva Museum and event organizers;
  • Scientific investigations were carried out in the Gloria Bastion;
  • Knowledge gained during the project activities was disseminated to the public and specialists.

According to Maria Smorževskihh-Smirnova, Director of Narva Museum, these works are very significant. "The project resulted in the restoration of an important historical heritage for Estonia and made Narva Castle more accessible to the public, which helps increase tourist numbers in the region and boosts local businesses."

The ER3 project, co-funded by the Estonian EU External Border Programme, lasted 52 months and had a total cost of about €5.93 million. The budget of the Narva Museum is 4,262,091,52 euros, of which the EU support is 3,697,790.60 euros.

DG REGIO website

Project ER3 is implemented under the European Neighbourhood Instrument and co-financed by the European Union

The main reconstruction project was designed by JVR Architectural Bureau and the construction was carried out by Scandec Ehitus OÜ. ER3 project manager:Jüri Moor,

The Narva Museum Foundation is implementing a project supported by the Estonian EU External Borders Programme (formerly the Estonian-Russian programme) (ER3), the aim of which is to develop the unique Narva Castle as a cultural and tourist destination. As a result of the project, Narva Castle will become more accessible to the public, which will contribute to the growth of the number of tourists in the region and boost local entrepreneurship.
During the project, by the end of December 2023, the following main activities will be carried out:

  • the western courtyard of Narva Castle will be reconstructed, with mobility and transport opportunities being improved (including mobility for people with special needs) and infrastructure for organising major events built among other things
  • the outer walls of the western courtyard will be preserved and restored
  • the Kristervall bastion will be reconstructed and host an exhibition dedicated to the bastions
  • the western courtyard of the castle will be connected to the riverside promenade and Joaorg recreation area. For this purpose, a steel staircase will be built below the southwest tower.
  • the roof of the western wall gallery will be reconstructed.

The project is financed by the Estonian EU External Borders Programme 2014-2020. It started in September 2019 and will last for about 52 months (up to 31.12.2023). The total cost is 5 933 995.36 euros. The budget of the Narva Museum is 4,262,091,52 euros, of which the EU support is 3,697,790.60 euros.
In addition to the developments carried out in the course of the project, scientific research will also be conducted with the aim of shedding new light on the history of Narva Castle and Gloria Bastion. The results of the research will be presented at a conference in November 2023 at the end of the project.

Contact person: Jüri Moor, +372 504 2056

This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of SA Narva Muuseum , and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Programme or the European Union.

Border Castle Discovery Centre

Border Castle Discovery Centre

As a result of the reconstruction work of Narva Castle, which started in January 2018 as part of the project "Opening of the Border Castle Discovery Centre" funded by the European Regional Development Fund, a fully restored convention building with a new permanent exhibition was opened in the summer of 2020. Now visitors can access the previously closed eastern wing and the gallery along the wall ridge of the convention building, while two lifts facilitate movement in the stairwells.
The final stage of the complete restoration of Narva Castle began with the development plan of Narva Castle, which was completed in 2007. It included the restoration of the convention building, the creation of a new exposition focused on the history of the castle, the restoration of the western yard and the opening of the south-western tower and the Kriservall casemate to visitors. In 2015, an architectural competition was organized to find a complete solution based on the development plan, which was won by the design "Two Friends". In 2016, the Narva Castle reconstruction project "Opening of the Border Castle Discovery Centre" received 3.54 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund, and in 2018 construction work began. The renewed Narva Castle opened to visitors in the summer of 2020.

The Narva Museum project "Opening the discovery centre of border security" received a grant of 3.54 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund in 2016 from the measure to strengthen the competitiveness of the regions. This made it possible to implement in three years the plans we have been planning since 2007.

The aim of the project is to create an environment in the fortress, which offers the visitor the opportunity to discover the story of the fort itself - who ruled the fortress at different times, who lived here on a daily basis and what task someone performed, how the fortress was built and why it was built, how the fortress was protected in war and how the fortress protected the city, etc. etc. In the course of the project, we will complete the restoration work that has been completed in the last century and open the entire castle to visitors with all our socks.

This means that we will fix and open to visitors the eastern wing of the castle´s convention building, which has not been accessed by anyone but the museum staff so far. With the completion of the restoration work, exciting wall walks, vaults and wall galleries will become accessible, which are now home only to pigeons and construction debris. The East Wing will have exhibition rooms as well as conference and event halls. The courtyard of the convention building, which currently has no special function, becomes a pleasant place where performances and concerts are organized. Even in the case of rain, because if necessary, we can apply a temporary awning to the courtyard.

The current 30-year-old permanent exhibition, which discusses the history of the city, is replaced by new content based on game theory, the main theme of which is Narva Castle and the main exhibit of which is the castle itself. The area of the new permanent exhibition is at least one quarter larger than the existing one. At least 50% of the castle´s premises, including the core of the permanent exhibition, will become accessible to people with special needs/mobility disabilities who are currently unfortunately unable to move around the castle.

These changes affect not only the museum, but also the city of Narva and the county as a whole. We are doing everything we can to at least double the number of visitors to the museum. This gives an impulse to develop local businesses and create new jobs, including in the museum itself. In fact, our ambition is even greater. To put it mildly, we want to become the most fierce stronghold on the Baltic Sea.



In 2007  Narva Hermann Castle Development Plan 2007-2013 was developed and presented to the city. One of the objectives of the plan was to develop a complete, fully restored, functionally effective complex of the fortress.

2007 Narva Museum Strategic Development Plan 2008-2013 was devised

2008  The city of Narva prepared and submitted a preliminary application for the project “Development of Narva city fortifications into a comprehensive visitor's object” to the programme "Development of cultural and tourist objects of national importance".  Among other objectives the project included the restoration of the eastern wing of Narva Castle, the restoration of the outdoor galleries of the convention building, the creation of a new exposition of the castle and the restoration of Kristervall. The project was not supported.

2010 Narva Museum submitted an application for the project "Reconstruction of the convention building of Narva Castle, walking paths of the Western Yard, the ticket office and the park" within the framework of measures to strengthen competitiveness in the regions. The project did not find funding.

2013 The City of Narva and the Ministry of Culture concluded a founding agreement for The Narva Museum Foundation.

2013 The strategic development plan of the Narva Museum of Foundation 2014-2018 was prepared.

March 2015  The Narva Museum Foundation and the Association of Architects announced an architectural competition aimed at finding a complete spatial solution for the buildings and territory of Narva Castle. The competition lasted until June 15, 2015.

July 13, 2015 Announcement of the winner of the architecture competition. The winner was the design with the tagline "Two Friends," by Kalle Vellevoog, Tiiu Truus, Lidia Zarudnaja, Martin Proomik (Architectural Bureau JVR)

October 1, 2015  A design agreement was concluded with the architectural bureau JVR, according to which JVR will prepare the design of the "Two Friends" construction project that won the architectural competition.  

June 22, 2016  The project of opening the Border Castle Discovery Centre received a grant in the amount of 3.54 million euros in the 1st round of applications in Ida-Viru County from investments to strengthen the competitiveness of the regions. As a result of the development, the entire castle will be opened to visitors. The historical environment and the new exposition together with the services and participation opportunities that will be offered, will form a comprehensive experience space.

January 2018  The Narva Museum Foundation and Scandec Ehitus Ltd signed a contract for the reconstruction of Narva Castle and construction works started. It will result in the opening of Narva Castle to visitors in full in 2020 with a new permanent exhibition. The reconstruction works are part of the project "Opening the Border Castle Discovery Centre." The total cost of the project is more than €4 million, of which €3.54 million comes from the European Regional Development Fund.

June 2020 As a result of two years of construction, the renovated Narva Castle was opened to visitors in June 2020 with a new permanent exhibition.