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Kreenholm: past and present

A cache by ctanle & krakatya Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 05/24/2011
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

You will not find the cache at the given coordinates. Estonian-speaking users should be aware of the listing of the cache in Estonian.

Update July 2019. There is a sign warning about the target area being restricted. Please note that, from my understanding, it is not illegal to enter the area. However, due to promixity to the border please be quick in dealing with the cache and do not behave suspiciously. Happy hunting!

This multicache explores Kreenholm, a neighbourhood in Narva. Kreenholm grew rapidly in the end of the 19th century, when the eponymous cotton spinning mill was built by the future baron von Knoop, who went on to become one of the richest men of his time. Von Knoop learned the cotton business in Manchester and used equipment from Britain to fit out Kreenholm mills. In fact, he was ostracised by Russia's engineers for hiring exclusively British personnel to oversee the machinery!

The once great factory and its business had been declining after the collapse of Soviet Union and finally shut its doors in the end of 2010. Nonetheless, there is a lot to see in the neighbourhood, from the British influences to neoclassicism to Soviet architecture.

You will find the physical cache at

N59°21.ABC E028°11.DEF,

where the letters stand for the numbers that you will have to work out while following the route across Kreenholm.

1. Start in front of the Alexander's cathedral (waypoint 1). The cathedral was built in 1884 and was intended for the Lutheran workers of Kreenholm. It can accommodate up to 5000 people. The bell tower is not original – the church was damaged heavily in WW2, and in 1960-s it was converted into a storehouse by the authorities. Services have resumed since 1990, and restoration works have taken place since, including the reconstruction of the said bell tower.

Standing at the entrance and looking away from it, you may observe dark cupola. This is the Resurrection church of Narva built for workers of Orthodox faith in the end of the 19th century. A street used to run between the two churches. While that church is not part of this geocache, pay a visit to it too!

Now the task: what is the highest floor to which the elevator in the bell tower can take you? This is number A.

NB: if you cannot access the tower, there will be an alternative for determining A later.

2. Go south to arrive at Narva railway station (waypoint 2). In a little park in front of it you will see a memorial stone called “Memento mori” – it is devoted to victims of political repressions. The station itself was opened in 1870 and was clearly relevant for Kreenholm's operations, but the building you see in front of you was built in Soviet times.

In the upper part of the façade, you will see a coat of arms. How many individual aquatic animals, items of weaponry and certain geometric shapes are there? Add these numbers up. This is number D (not B). In fact, the “geometric shapes” are also meant to be items of weaponry – you shoot them from cannons.

3. Now turn east to arrive at Raudsilla street. Look to the east. The land to the other side of the river is Russia! You can also see an industrial-type building (waypoint 3) that has transmission line towers next to it. This is the Narva Hydroelectric Station, built it 1955. After collapse of the Soviet Union, the station has been operated by Russia. To produce electricity, it uses waters of the same river that once powered Kreenholm's mills!

How many round arches can you see in the station? Divide number A by this number; you will obtain number C.

4. Continue along Raudsilla street. You will be passing under a railway bridge. This bridge (waypoint 4) carries the sole railway line connecting Tallinn and Saint-Petersburg. Since said line started operating, Narva's neighbouring resort town of Narva-Jõesuu had been increasingly popular first with Saint-Petersburg's and later with Leningrad's intelligentsia. After the border emerged between Estonia and  Russia in 1991, Narva-Jõesuu suffered a severe decrease in visitor numbers. While things are getting better now, the number of hotels is nowhere near where it was in late 1980s.

The bridge carries a road sign which restricts the height of vehicles that can pass underneath it. A vehicle with what maximal height would still be allowed to pass? The maximal height in metres is number B.

5. Pass underneath the bridge and turn right to Raudtee street. You will see a large park in the end of it, which is dominated by the imposing Gerassimovi hall (waypoint 5). Vassili Gerassimov played a seemingly imporant role in Kreenholm’s strike in 1872, one of the first in Imperial Russia. He was hailed as a “revolutionary” in Soviet times, and the hall, built for Kreenholm’s workers in 1957, used to house small theatrical collectives and be exploited as a cultural venue. Unfortunately, the hall was deserted some 10 years ago, as it was sold to an investor not interested in rejuvenating it.

This is the alternative way to obtain A if you could not access the bell tower of Alexander’s cathedral. Stand in front of the Gerassimovi hall. You can see some columns arranged in two rows. How many are there in the row closest to you? This is number A.

6. Turn to the left and follow south through the park (which carries the name Victory park and is devoted to remembrance of those who perished in WW2 or the Great Patriotic War as it is known in Russia). On the right, you will see some stone stelas (waypoint 6). This is a memorial to those who fell in the war and it bears their names.

How many stelas are there? Keep this number in mind or note it down, you will need it later.

7. Pass by Kreenholmi High school to arrive at Kooli põik and follow it further south. Pay attention to the red-bricked buildings you can see to the left of you: these used to be the barracks for Kreenholm’s labourers. Go further south, cross Haigla street and enter the court. This is Narva’s hospital complex. On the left you can see the first hospital (small red-bricked building) overshadowed by the more modern hospital wing from Soviet times. On the right you can see the iconic hospital wing (waypoint 7) with art-nouveau and classicism influences built in 1913 to commemorate Romanov dynasty’s 300 years of power. The two older hospital buildings were meant for Kreenholm’s labourers, but now all three wings serve the whole town’s medical needs.

Find the plaque devoted to the architect of the hospital’s 1913’s wing. Note the year of his birth, it will look like 1bcd. Calculate c - 1 - b + d. This is number F.

8. It is time you went directly to Kreenholm’s entrance. Follow Haigla street to the east and turn right onto Joala street. Go on further south along Joala until you have reached a small parking, which is adjoined by Kose street. The building at the south side of the parking is Kreenholm’s vestibule (waypoint 8), built in Soviet times. Every day until very recently, thousands (and later hundreds) of Kreenholm’s employees entered and left the factory’s territory via these gates. Now, almost no one does.

Pay attention to the deserted wooden house with shiny roof at the south-east side of the parking. This used to be the house of Kreenholm’s director, built specifically for him. You can pass further to south-east by passing between the fenced area (this is a border-crossing point) and said house to see the Kreenholm complex itself. If you are lucky enough to arrive in spring, you will see the fierce currents of river Narva that once powered the mills: after all, Narva river, while only 77 km long, is second by discharge into the gulf of Finland.

Turn back to the ex-house of director. How many open-air terraces (balconies) does the house have? Now recall the number of stelas in the park in question 6 and add these two numbers together. What you just obtained is number E.

The multicache is complete! Go and fetch your prize, which is not far from where you obtained the last number.

While you haven’t left, why not walk down Joala street and have a look at smaller houses of red brick, which used to house engineers and management of the mills. True, they are empty now, but maybe the story of Kreenholm is not over just yet?

You can check your answers for this puzzle on

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Nhgbzngrq gryyre znpuvar (NGZ), pnfucbvag, ...
Jung ryfr pbhyq n Oevg fnl?
15 pz sebz gur rqtr, 1 zrger sebz gur tebhaq (!).

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)