I usually don’t enjoy visiting run down buildings, as they scare me. But Kreenholm Manufacturing Company complex visit became the highlight of my and my husbands trip to Estonia!

Located in the very middle of the border between Russia and Estonia, it is a site to visit due to many reasons. Not just some of the most beautiful Estonian waterfalls are here (especially beautiful in spring when the Russian power plant up the stream opens the floodgate), but it is a place where you can see and hear people talking right next to you, but in a different country, as across the river is the city of Ivangorod. There is even pedestrian border crossing right next to Kreenholm!

But the main reason for the visit is the incredible Kreenholm manufacture. In 1856 Ludwig Knoop purchased Kreenholm island (in translation from Swedish – the island of crows) and started building a textile factory. It later became the most modern one in Russian Empire and the biggest in Europe, and it’s brand name was synonym of good quality in the region. At its peak, 11 000 people used to work here, so it was largely responsible for development of the city of Narva! In 2010 the factory went bankrupt, and now just some of the buildings are used by private companies.

Adults and children alike worked in this place, and their working hours in the 19th century were from 5:00 til 21:00, (and after work children still had to go to school!). Workers had very little rights and life was not easy for them, so there had been several strikes, people fighting to shorten the working hours at least for 30 minutes and get longer lunch breaks, so they could eat meals at home, as plant was very much outside the inhabited area of the town.

Nowadays the site is actually very clean, as the territory is closed for the general public, so you must enter with a guide. On Sundays at 12:00, at the old gate (opposite Joala street 30/32) guides wait for tourists to come. Tickets are sold on the spot and cost 13 euros per person, cash only. There are guides that do tours in Russian and Estonian (English tours are organized on demand by Narva Castle Museum).

Annexes built during the Soviet times have been torn down, and only the historical buildings, to be protected, remain. The buildings are grand, those are not just large spaces for equipment, but there are beautiful details and you can see the architect took his time. There is a project to renovate the area for it to hold office buildings, shopping mall and a concert hall.

More info: reveriechaser.com