A look at 5 historic Russian lighthouses

Translator: Vlad Ilkevich

Author: Svetlana Kondratieva

As lighthouses, water towers, and abandoned dungeons are becoming increasingly popular tourist attractions in Russia, the Nam Svetlo project is bringing beacons across the country into the spotlight. The group has been organizing lighthouse tours since 2014 to raise awareness about them as heritage sites worth preserving and visiting. Strelka Mag and Nam Svetlo have selected five of the most interesting sites across the country.


Tolbukhin Lighthouse

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

This lighthouse is the oldest one in Russia. It is situated in the Gulf of Finland, on the tip of Kotlin Spit, five kilometers away from the town of Kronstadt. It was founded in 1719 by Peter the Great and named after Fedot Tolbukhin, a hero of the Great Northern War. The lighthouse was initially constructed as a temporary wooden tower, and remained as such for almost a century before being rebuilt with stone in 1810.


Osinovetsky Lighthouse

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

This lighthouse is located on the shores of Lake Ladoga, in Osinovetskaya Bay. It is one of the tallest in the country, with a thin red-and-white tower rising 70 meters above ground. During the Siege of Leningrad, the lighthouse served as a beacon for the Road of Life, a winter transport route across a frozen lake that served as the only access point to the city besieged by Nazi troops. Locals also used it as a bomb shelter.


Aniva Lighthouse

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

This abandoned lighthouse is located on the southern tip of Sakhalin island, in La Pérouse Strait. It was built in 1939 when the area was under Japanese control. The hard-to-reach location is surrounded by mountains on land, and strong currents in the water. This is why erecting a concrete tower at the site made for a complicated feat. After World War II, the lighthouse and the entire island became Soviet. The facility operated in automatic mode before eventually being shut down and neglected in 2006. It has been gradually deteriorating ever since.


Tarkhankut Lighthouse

Source: vk.com/namsvetlo

This lighthouse is situated on the westernmost point of Crimea, the Tarkhankut Cape. It was built in 1816 by Leontiy Spafaryev, the first director of the Russian Lighthouse Administration. It was constructed simultaneously alongside its twin, Khersones Lighthouse, with the two structures becoming the first lighthouses in Crimea. The Khersones Lighthouse was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in the 1950s.


Baltic Lighthouse

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This is the westernmost lighthouse in the country. The well-kept, long-standing tower is located near Kaliningrad, the former German city of Koenigsberg, and facilitates ships entering the port. The lighthouse was built by German engineers in 1813, and was originally called Pillau. Its name was changed after the Soviets took the city and renamed it as Baltiysk.

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