Russia’s 7 most beautiful lighthouses

December 9, 2019 - 19:12

TEHRAN - The first lighthouses in Russia were built under Peter the Great, known as the “father of the Russian Navy”. There are now roughly about a hundred operating and abandoned lighthouses left in Russia. We have put together a list of the most beautiful specimens. Let’s get started, or as the Russians say — Poekhali!

The Osinovetsky Light in Leningrad Region

This 70-meter stone giant towers over the south-western shore of Lake Ladoga. It is the ninth tallest lighthouse in the world. The Osinovetsky lighthouse is active from April to November, marking the western border of the Petrokrepost (Shlisselburg) Inlet of Lake Ladoga for ships. The Neva River flows from Lake Ladoga.

The Osinovetsky lighthouse took five years to construct, from 1905 to 1910. The lighthouse flashes red, green and white signals which are visible 40 kilometers away. These are the only three colors used by lighthouses. Other colors are unsuitable for navigation purposes. For example, blue flashes are rapidly dissipated by drops of moisture in the air and create hazy signals that are only visible for a short distance, which is a recipe for marine disaster.

The Osinovetsky lighthouse has played a special role in the history of St. Petersburg. A port was built there as part of the Road of Life during the Siege of Leningrad, and it received the first vital delivery of grain in September 1941. A year later, several hundred tons of cargo bound for the besieged city — everything from food to weapons and household appliances — passed through it.

Russia’s oldest lighthouse keeper, Sergei Shulyatev, devoted over 20 years to taking care of the Osinovetsky Light, and lit the tower’s lamps every day. He worked at the lighthouse until he was 74. In 2010, Shulyatev was succeeded by Oleg Karepanov who had worked as a long-haul truck driver before becoming a lighthouse keeper.

Visitors are not allowed to enter the lighthouse. It belongs to Russia’s Ministry of Defense and is protected by 24-hour security.

You can combine a trip to the lighthouse with a visit to the Road of Life Museum. The museum is beside Lake Ladoga, near Cape Osinovets. You can learn about the legendary ice road that saved many people’s lives in Leningrad. Ships and planes, household items, photographs and documents from this period of history are exhibited at the museum.

Wrap up your trip to the lighthouse with a nice walk to the restaurant in the hotel at the Mir Mayakov retreat, which overlooks Lake Ladoga and the Osinovetsky Light. Make sure you try their smoked fish. If you want to spend the night by the lake, there is a hostel, a hotel, and cottages that you can rent at the Mir Mayakov retreat. A night at the hostel will cost 700 rubles. A standard double room costs two thousand rubles per night.

How to reach Osinovetsky: take the train from Ladozhsky Railway Station to “Ladozhskoye Ozero” (Lagoda Lake). The journey takes just over an hour. From there, you need to walk about a mile — you will be able to spot the lighthouse from a distance. The most convenient way to visit the lighthouse is to book a tour with “Nam Svetlo”, who are based in St. Petersburg and specialize in guided tours of lighthouses in the wider Leningrad region.

Egersheld Lighthouse, Vladivostok

Egersheld Lighthouse (also known as Tokarevsky Lighthouse) is one of the oldest lighthouses in Russia’s Far East. It stands at the end of a narrow artificial spit in southern Vladivostok, the Tokarevskaya Koshka Dam. The lighthouse was built in 1876. The tower has since served as the main landmark to help skippers navigate the entrance to the seaside city’s port.

The lighthouse is named in honor of the legendary navigator who explored Peter the Great Gulf — Captain Gustav Egersheld of the second rank. In 1860, the Griden, a corvette captained by Egersheld, who spent almost a year in Golden Horn Bay (trans. Zolotoy Rog), sailed into Vladivostok. The ship’s crew and Egersheld himself made an invaluable contribution to the development of Vladivostok. They produced the first geological survey Golden Horn Bay ever recorded in history. Thanks to their research, the first handwritten map of the Golden Horn Bay and the Eastern Bosphorus was created.

Visitors are not allowed to enter the lighthouse. In summer, you can combine a trip to the Egersheld Lighthouse with a walk on the beach nearby. The beach has picturesque and panoramic views of Vladivostok, Russky Island and the cable-stayed Russky Bridge, which stretches across the Eastern Bosphorus strait. And in winter you can see the spotted seals on Tokarevskaya Koshka Dam, also known as larga seals. Please resist the temptation to go up and stroke them: it is not recommended to come any closer than 15 meters to them.

Pup season is from February to March, so the seals may perceive you as a threat to their pups if you approach them, and may react aggressively.

How to reach the lighthouse: a number of tour agencies based in Vladivostok organize a trip to the lighthouse as part of their excursion program. You can get there on your own without a tour guide from Vladivostok on buses nos. 57, 59, 60, 62, 81 or shuttle bus no. 63 (your need to stop at “Mayak”, the lighthouse). You need to walk about a mile from there.

Tarkhankut Lighthouse, Crimea

Tarkhankut Lighthouse stands on the Tarkhankut Cape of the Tarkhankut Peninsula — the westernmost point of Crimea. Tarkhankut was called “the Cape of Storms” in the Middle Ages. The tower was built for ships that needed to navigate the changeable weather, frequent storms and the rocky terrain of the coastline, which make for dangerous sailing.

The lighthouse was built from white Inkerman limestone in 1816. It stands at 38 meters. Its twin tower, the Chersonesus Lighthouse, was built shortly after. At the time when it was built, the Tarhankut Lighthouse used an oil lamp with 15 wicks and 15 reflectors. The lamp used a type of rapeseed oil as its fuel source called colza, which is extracted from flowering plants commonly known as the mustards, the crucifers, or the cabbage family.

A lamp with powerful lenses was later installed inside the lighthouse. In 1970, The Tarkhankut Lighthouse was reinforced and repaired. It now has an electric beacon and radio beacon, fog signal, and a station with a medium-range radius radio navigation system. Light from the beacon can be seen from more than 30 kilometers out. Its foghorn can be heard from almost two kilometers away.

A cast-iron spiral staircase with 142 steps leads from the lower room to the top of the tower. The lighthouse is still in operation. Visitors are not allowed to enter the lighthouse. However, there are walking trails around the lighthouse and along the rocky coastline.

How to reach the lighthouse: the lighthouse is just over three kilometers away from the village of Olenivka, so you can cycle or take a taxi from there.

Storozhenskiy Light in Leningrad Region

Storozhenskiy Light, also known as Storozhno Light, is a red and white lighthouse in the village of Storozhno on the south-eastern side of Lake Ladoga — it is Russia’s second-tallest lighthouse and seventh in the world. To this day, this 71-meter giant still serves as a guiding star for ships, helping them traverse the treacherous Storozhensky reef.

The lighthouse was built in 1906. The lighthouse was initially built as a wooden structure and was later replaced by a stone tower. There are 399 steps leading up to the top. The lighthouse overlooks Storozhensky Cape, which separates Svirskaya Bay from Volkhovskaya Bay, and views of Storozhno and Ladoga Lake.

There are Fresnel lenses at the top of the tower that enables the lighthouse to project a beam of white light that can be seen 35 kilometers away in clear weather. Its red light is visible 28 kilometers out.

The lighthouse keeper usually agrees to let visitors come inside the tower. His own red-brick house is next door to the lighthouse; there is a sign on the door that reads “Storozhensky Light”. Please, do not forget: no photographs are allowed inside the lighthouse.

How to reach the lighthouse: by car to the village Storozhno (210 kilometers from St. Petersburg). You will be able to see the lighthouse from a distance. Part of the road there is on a dirt track through the forest. You can get there on public transport, but it is a long and complicated journey. You can also take the train from Ladozhsky Railway Station in St. Petersburg bound for “Ladozhskoye Ozero” (Ladoga Lake), and get off at the station “Pasha” (the journey takes three and a half hours). Then you need to take a bus to the village of Zagubye, and after that, you can cycle 18 kilometers or take a taxi to Storozhno.

Gamov Lighthouse in Primorsky Krai
Russia’s southernmost lighthouse. The lighthouse is located in the village of Gamov on Cape Gamov of the Gamov Peninsula in south-western Primorsky Krai. The Cape’s high coastline is abrupt and extremely steep — this is one of the most mesmerizing and enchanting places in Primorsky Krai.

The lighthouse was built at the turn of the nineteenth century. The tower is 50 meters tall. The lighthouse’s main attraction is its old bell, which was used to warn ships of danger in thick fog and other harsh weather conditions.

The Cape and other regional namesakes were named after the then young midshipman Dmitry Gamov. He was a crew member of the Russian Navy’s “Pallada” frigate and an explorer of the Primorsky region. He was the first aboard the vessel to spot the picturesque Cape on the east coast of Peter the Great Bay.

Today, the lighthouse’s beacon can shine a beam of light visible 56 kilometers away.

The Gamov Lightkeepers are happy to welcome visitors inside. You just need to knock on the door and ask to go upstairs — they won’t turn you away.

How to reach the lighthouse: take the bus from Vladivostok Bus Station to Andreevka village. The journey takes five hours. Then take a taxi or the ferry to the village of Vityaz. After that, you can reach Cape Gamova on foot or by motorboat. There are also motorboats and ferries from Andreevka to the Cape. You can rent quad bikes and buggies.

The Abandoned Aniva Lighthouse on Sakhalin Island
This is one of Russia’s most remote lighthouses in Russia, located just off Sakhalin Island. The lighthouse was built in 1939 on the small rock of Sivuchya, which juts out of rugged Cape Aniva. Sailors know that this is a place where many different currents collide, where there is often foggy weather and dangerous offshore reefs, abruptly shallow waters, far shallower than the depths of the surrounding ocean.

The lighthouse is a 31-meter concrete tower with a side extension. It has nine floors. The project was designed by Japanese engineer Shinobu Miura, a graduate from the Kanagawa Prefecture.

On the basement floor, there was a diesel and battery room. The first floor with its side extension was taken up by a kitchen and food store. On the second floor, there was a radio room, a control room, and an observation room. From the third to the fifth floor there were living quarters designed to accommodate 12 people in the tower. The lighthouse keepers wound up a pendulum weighing 260 kilograms every three hours to keep a clockwork rotating mechanism going for the optical system. The lighthouse’s beacon can shine a beam of light visible over 30 kilometers away.

The lighthouse Aniva was abandoned in 1990. It kept running in automatic mode until 2010, when the mechanical movement stopped, and now it is completely inoperable and is gradually being destroyed by water and strong winds.

How to reach the lighthouse: the area is extremely remote and difficult to access. The most convenient way to get there is by boat from Novikovo or Lesnoy village (about one and a half hours).

Yeni Kale Lighthouse, Crimea
The active Yeni Kale Lighthouse is located in the easternmost point of Crimea - on Cape Fonar. The lighthouse was built in 1820 to ensure the safe passage of ships from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait.

The tower gets its name from the nearby Yeni Kale Fortress. According to written memoirs that date back to 350 BC, even then people used to stand on the cliff and use torchlight to guide sailors.

During the Second World War, the lighthouse equipment was brought to a safe place on the Taman coast by the lightkeeper at the time, Mikhail Egorov. The lighthouse was later destroyed by German shelling. In 1943, the tower began operating again thanks to a temporary lantern which was installed on the ruins. After the Kerch was liberated in 1944, the equipment that had been saved was brought back. A temporary wooden structure with a lantern was initially built on the site where the old lighthouse had stood, and a new stone tower was later built with a modern optical system for maritime navigation.

Visitors are currently not allowed to enter the lighthouse.

How to reach the lighthouse: take shuttle bus no. 18 from Kerch to “Mayak” (the lighthouse).

(Based on a research into Russian sources)

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