Over a thousand signatures were collected by a petition calling for the refurbishment of the old town in the eastern Estonian city of Narva. Narva's city government is initiating a detailed plan for reconstructing the quarter, which was largely levelled during World War Two.
Renovating Narva's Old Town, which was razed to the ground in World War Two has been talked about for decades but the idea has been given up multiple times due to its nature as a huge and expensive undertaking.
Representatives of the petition who have gathered over 1,000 signatures confirm that recovering one quarter is completely viable. A detailed plan needs to be created for appropriate land, however, while potential backers are being approached internationally.
"I have communicated with some extremely wealthy people. And when such people have met their essential needs, new desires arise, including a wish to leave a mark in the pages of history. I am convinced that there are at least 16 people in the world who have enough money to allocate a small amount for leaving such a mark," the head of the Narva Industrial Park Vadim Orlov said.
The quarter offered for building is situated near the town hall and makes up around 10 percent of the entire Old Town territory. The land is owned by the city.
Mayor of Narva Katri Raik says that the city is ready to initiate the detailed plan. "It's rather more realistic than non-realistic. And we will see, based on this quarter, whether this idea is reasonable or not, whether there are people interested," Raik said.
Orlov said that the recovered quarter would have room for a hotel, restaurants and apartment buildings. Narva's guide Aleksander Openko added tourism development to the list, but he considers letting go of the wounds created during the war the most important goal.
"We have a medieval fortress and the Kreenholm islet for the most part, but the baroque-era Narva was almost completely destroyed during World War Two. If we manage to restore at least a dozen houses, the wound will heal and the city will be freed from the horrors of the war," Openko said.
According to preliminary estimates, the restoration work could cost about €16 million.
Editor: Roberta Vaino