Narva is the third largest city in Estonia. It is located at the eastern extreme point of Estonia, at the Russian border, on the Narva River which drains Lake Peipus.
People settled in the area from the 5th to 4th millennium BC, as witnessed by the archeological traces of the Narva culture, named after the city. The fortified settlement at Narva Joaoru is the oldest known in Estonia, dated to around 1000 BC. The earliest written reference of Narva is in the First Novgorod Chronicle, which in the year 1172 describes a district in Novgorod called Nerevsky or Narovsky konets (yard). According to historians, this name derives from the name of Narva or Narva River and indicates that a frequently used trade route went through Narva, although there is no evidence of the existence of a trading settlement at the time.
Narva is situated in the eastern extreme point of Estonia, 200 km (124 mi) to the east from the Estonian capital Tallinn and 130 km (81 mi) southwest from Saint Petersburg. The capital of Ida-Viru County, Jõhvi, lies 50 km (31 mi) to the west. The eastern border of the city along the Narva River coincides with the Estonian-Russian border. The Estonian part of the Narva Reservoir lies mostly within the territory of Narva, to the southwest of city center. The mouth of the Narva River to the Gulf of Finland is about 13 km (8 mi) downstream from the city.
The territory of Narva is 84.54 square kilometres (32.64 sq mi). The city proper has an area of 62 square kilometres (24 sq mi) (excluding the reservoir), while two separate districts surrounded by Vaivara Parish, Kudruküla and Olgina, cover 5.6 km2 (2.16 sq mi) and 0.58 km2 (0.22 sq mi), respectively. Kudruküla is the largest of Narva's dacha regions, located 6 km (4 mi) to northwest from the main city, near Narva-Jõesuu.