Image: Christian Holzinger, Podersdorf am See, Austria
From ancient towers to those that will soon disappear into the sea, let these extraordinary lighthouses from around the world light up your day!
Image: Delphinidaesy, Roman watch, Tower of Hercules
Outside the Spanish city of La Coruna, you’ll find the oldest lighthouse in the world. This ancient Roman lighthouse is estimated to have been built sometime towards the end of the 1st century and is said to be based on the famous Pharos of Alexandria (another lighthouse that was built under Ptolemaic rule sometime between 280-247BC). Amazingly, the Tower of Hercules is still in use and can be visited to this day.
Image: nz_willowherb, Bell Rock Lighthouse
Just off the coast of Angus, Bell Rock is the oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse in the world, having been completed in 1810. Following the shipwreck of the HMS York in 1804 (not to mention the dozens of other shipwrecks before it), engineer Robert Stevenson argued for a lighthouse to be built on Bell Rock to prevent further wrecks. His proposal was quickly approved.
Image: Lighthouse Tourlitis in Andros island, Cyclades, Greece
Sitting atop a rock near Andros Island, Greece’s famed Tourlitis Lighthouse has had two lives: It was first built in 1887, destroyed during WWII, and rebuilt in 1996. It’s an automatic lighthouse so no one needs to man it, but the structure itself and its rock-carved stairs continue to draw thousands of tourists each year.
Image: Tom Gill, The 30 foot tall outer light of the St. Joseph, Michigan after a severe winter storm
When it’s warm, the St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouses might look like any other, but when winter freezes over in Michigan, they look icily spectacular. The outer lighthouse was first lit in 1906, and the inner lighthouse in 1907 (though other lighthouses did exist in the spot previously). Why are there two? Simple – more visibility and markings for ships entering the river.
Wondering where the tallest lighthouse on the planet is? It’s in Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Seaport. Jeddah Light is an astounding 133 metres tall (almost as tall as the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and while it looks amazing during the day, it truly dazzles at night. In addition to being a lighthouse, it’s also used as a control room for the port and harbour.
Image: StefanoPiemonte, La Jument
Even if you’ve never seen La Jument in real life, you’ll probably recognise it from the famous photographs by Jean Guichard. After a series of shipwrecks and deaths along the Brittany coast in the late 1800s to early 1900s, construction of La Jument began in 1904. La Jument has since become one of the most well known lighthouses in the region, along with two others, Nividic and Kreac’h.
Image: Yepyep, Rubjerg Knude
Not all lighthouses are quite so lucky to withstand the test of time. In northern Denmark on the Jutland coast, this lighthouse once shone over the North Sea, 60 metres above the water. First lit in 1900, it ceased operating in 1968 and is now slowly succumbing to the shifting sands and severe erosion in the area (the coast is eroding at around 5 feet per year). Some researchers predict that it’s expected to fall into the sea by as early as 2020.