The municipality said that an extraordinary undertaking, which began over two decades ago, helped to acquire stones for the repaving of the historic Narva Town Hall area. Some people had expected their names to be inscribed on the cobbles they had contributed, but the municipality made the decision to install a plaque with the list of donors.
The citizen campaign for the donation of granite cobblestones for the Narva Town Hall square started more than two decades ago in 2002.
People were asked to donate each a single stone, or a bigger sum for a named stone, to pave the main city square of more than 1,000 square meters.
The initiator of the project, SA Pro Narva, had hoped to raise the money needed to pave the square in three to five years, but the interest of donors was lower than expected and things began to drag. In 10 years, about 100,000 stones were sold, clearly not enough to pave the entire square and in 2013, SA Pro Narva was liquidated.
Nevertheless, the City of Narva acquired the stones purchased during the fundraising campaign and used them to pave the new Town Hall Square.
"They are scattered around the northeast corner of the square, strung out between the cobbles, but they are distinct and visible," Madis Tuuder, chief heritage inspector, said.
Some donors recalled that their names were supposed to be visible on the stones. "My relatives donated money for a round one and asked me to engrave their names on it, but there are no such stones here, engraved or not. These are all square gray stones. There are no black, round granite plates," Siliva Ilmenskaja, a resident of Narva, who went to the Town Hall Square to look for stones donated by her relatives, told ERR.
Andres Toode, the former head of Pro Narva SA, said that at first they really wanted dark stones, but as the fundraising campaign dragged on and prices rose, they opted for cheaper and lighter ones. But in the end, the money raised bought more stones than there were donors.
Tuuder said that marking the stones with the names of the donors was considered, but in the end a simpler and better solution was found. "We decided it would be better to have a plaque with the names of the contributors on it or on an information board," he said.
Almost the entire Old Narva, once regarded as a jewel of northern European baroque architecture, was destroyed during Word War II.
The Narva Town Hall building had stood empty for almost a quarter of a century, and it took an agonizingly long time to find a new use for the Old Town's finest surviving building. The renovated Narva Town Hall finally opened its doors to visitors in 2023. The adjacent square behind the Town Hall is also nearing the completion.
The former mayor of Narva, Katri Raik, told ERR News earlier that the city has begun special planning to reconstruct the old main road, Rüütli tänav. "There might be once again a beautiful 18th-century stroll from the riverbank to the Town Hall, with 16 historical buildings rebuilt to their original shape."
This article has been updated to include visuals.
Editor: Kristina Kersa