For centuries, lighthouses were vital for keeping mariners and there vessels safe from the hitting the rocks during dark, night-time voyages. Many sailors throughout history owed their lives to these towering structures, whose beacon of light was the only thing standing between them and disaster. Nowadays, with the influx of modern technology such as radar, lighthouses are needed less and less. A number of famous and imposing lighthouses, however, have been preserved, due to their historical importance and architectural beauty. This blog will take a look at some of the world’s remaining lighthouses, offering history-buffs and nautical-nuts a guide on where to find them on their next cruise getaway.
Sambro Island Lighthouse – Halifax, Canada
The Sambro Island Lighthouse is positioned at the entrance to Halifax harbour in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia – famous for its natural beauty. Featuring the classic red and white stripes, synonymous with lighthouses, this terrific structure was completed in 1759. Joseph Reus was appointed as the first keeper and, alongside the bright light, cannons and a steam fog whistle were installed as audible warnings to passing ships.
As the oldest existing lighthouse in North America, the Sambro Island Light celebrated its 250th birthday in 2008, attracting droves of intrigued visitors from across Canada and the rest of the world for tours of the area as well as lectures from knowledgeable locals.
Lighthouse of Alexandria – Alexandria, Egypt
Despite the fact that the Lighthouse of Alexandria no longer stands, it deserves its place on this list due to its historical importance and worldwide fame. This remarkable structure was erected between 280 and 247 BC by subjects of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the Egyptian metropolis Alexandria and was the tallest building on the planet for many centuries.
The lighthouse was damaged by earthquakes and eventually ransacked in 1480 to build a new citadel. It wasn’t until 1994 that French archaeologists discovered the remains of the lighthouse off the coast of Alexandria’s harbour. The design of this amazing structure has been copied and celebrated in architecture and literature around the world, including the world-famous George Washington Monument, which was shaped to mimic the ancient lighthouse’s well-known facade.
Tower of Hercules – La Coruna, Spain
The Tower of Hercules in the Spanish coastal city of La Coruna was modelled on the ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria. The structure stands at an impressive 55 metres tall and is nearly 1900 years old – having been refurbished in 1791 – making it one of the only Roman lighthouses still in use today. The historic attraction also boasts a scenic sculpture garden featuring the work of artists including Pablo Serrano and Francisco Leiro.
Apart from the obvious influences of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, little is known for sure about the origins of the imposing Tower of Hercules. It is known to have existed during the 2nd century, but a number of different theories argue the time at which it was first built.
Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse – Ushuaia, Argentina
Only accessible on boat tours from the coast of Ushuaia in southern Argentina, Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse is located on one of the five tiny and uninhabited Les Eclaireurs islets. The lighthouse is painted with the iconic red and white stripes and stands at a rather short 10 metres tall.
The lighthouse is still in use to this day, although it is now remote-control operated and powered by solar panels. Since entering into service in December 1920, the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse has been around for nearly 100 years and is one of the region’s most popular historic tourist attractions, known by many locals as the Lighthouse at the End of the World.
Lighthouse of Genoa – Genoa, Italy
The Lighthouse of Genoa – also known simply as Lanterna – is the Genoa’s major lighthouse, located at the city’s main port. Erected during the 12th century and standing at an incredible 76 metres tall, the structure is the oldest and second tallest of its kind in the world.
The Lighthouse of Genoa’s s illustrious heritage is on display at the Lanterna Museum, situated adjacent to the tower itself. The museum celebrates the history of the city, the port and, of course, the lighthouse with a series of interesting exhibits, including ancient archives and other intriguing artefacts.
(1) Dennis Jarvis – wikimedia.org
(2) Ec. Domnowall – wikipedia.org
(3) Lmbuga -wikipedia.org
(4) Liam Quinn – wikimedia.org
(5) Twice25 – wikipedia.org