Saturday, May 29, 2010

TAIWAN

The Chihou Lighthouse is one of the best known and most visited of all Taiwanese lighthouses and is located on the summit of Chihou Hill, at the north end of Cijin Island in Kaohsiung. The lighthouse was built by English technicians in 1883 during Ching Dynasty, after the port was opened to foreign trading. In 1916, the Japanese made an extensive renovation of the lighthouse as part of the expansion of Kaohsiung port. The lighthouse plays a crucial role in guiding ships since 1918 during night sailing. Chihou was one of the few major Taiwanese lighthouses to escape World War II undamaged. The 15 m (49 ft) octagonal cylindrical brick tower rises from a 1-story brick keeper's house. The light is still active and hosts a museum at the keeper's house.

USA

Cape Poge Lighthouse is at the northeast tip of Chappaquiddick, an island that is part of Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. At least four towers have been built on Cape Poge, with many moves. The first station was established in 1801 and the current 35-foot (11 m) tower was constructed in 1893. The round shingle-clad wood tower has been relocated away from the water's edge four times: the last relocation was 500 ft (150 m) in 1987, by helicopter. It is still active and the current light is a 300 mm solar powered beacon that flashes white every 6 seconds and is visible for 9 nautical miles.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

RUSSIA

Murmansk is a city and seaport in the extreme north-west part of Russia, on the Kola Bay. A memorial in honor of the 85th anniversary of the city was opened near Lake Semyonovskoye in 2002. The memorial includes a 28 m (92 ft) hexagonal cylindrical tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands, the Lighthouse Monument. This lighthouse is not a genuine aid to navigation. There is a Memorial Hall in the basement part of the lighthouse, each wall of the hall is devoted to the memory of fishermen who perished at sea in peacetime, to sea transport workers, to military seamen, and to pilots of shipborne aviation. There is also a Memorial Book containing the names of those who did not return from the sea. These include the crew of the nuclear submarine Kursk, pride of the Northern Fleet, which sank with the loss of all 118 on board in the Barents Sea in 2000 - Russia's worst peacetime naval disaster and a tremendous blow to national pride.

ITALY

Cape Palascìa, commonly known as Capo d'Otranto, is Italy's most easterly point. It is situated about 5 km (3 mi) southeast of Otranto, in the Province of Lecce. The Capo d’Otranto lighthouse was built in 1867 and is inactive since the 1970s. The 32 m (105 ft) round stone tower rises from a 2-story keeper's house and is often visited by tourists, especially at New Year, since it stands at the point where the dawn of the New Year may first be seen in Italy. According to nautical conventions, Capo d'Otranto marks the point where the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea meet. The lighthouse of Otranto, after a restoration of the main building, was reopened on December 19, 2008 and hosts the Centre on Environment and Health of the Mediterranean ecosystems (ObsEco) and a multimedia museum of the sea.

AUSTRALIA

Wollongong is the only point on the eastern coast of Australia which has two lighthouses. The old Wollongong Harbour Lighthouse is located on the end of the breakwater and was built in 1871. The 12 m (40 ft) tapered round wrought iron tower, painted white, is inactive since 1974. Due to years of neglect the wrought iron plates, railing and footing had deteriorated so much that the lighthouse was considered for demolition in the 1970s, however the Wollongong community contributed to its full restoration in 1978-79. A complete restoration was begun in 2000 and the light was relit in connection with an international lighthouse conference in Sydney in 2002. Since then, the lighthouse is still lit up for special events like Breast Cancer Charity, for example. It is still the original configuration, divided into three storeys with wooden floors, each storey being connected by iron ladders.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Here is a nice postcard from a Northern Ireland lighthouse located at Rathlin Island. Six miles off the north Antrim coast and connected with the mainland by ferry, the island has spectacular settings and its cliffs play host to one of the biggest colonies of seabirds in the UK. One of the most unusual sights on Rathlin is the West Lighthouse. The lantern is set on a concrete pad built into a notch in a spectacular almost-vertical cliff. Rising behind the lantern is a square cylindrical tower 18 m (60 ft) high, attached at its upper end to a 2-story keeper's house set into another, higher notch. At this light station, the keepers climbed down to the light (it was made automatic in 1983). All buildings are painted white for best contrast against the dark cliff face. The lighthouse itself is inaccessible, but visitors can get close enough to take photos over the edge of the cliff.

Friday, May 21, 2010

NETHERLANDS

The postcard shows sixteen lighthouses and the inscription "Lighthouses along the Dutch coast". A small country with a long maritime tradition, The Netherlands is home to a large number of historic lighthouses. For centuries, fires were lit atop brick towers to guide returning Dutch sailors, and even today the traditional Dutch word for a lighthouse is vuurtoren (fire tower). There is strong interest in the country in lighthouses and their preservation, and many towers have been restored in recent years. There is also a national organization, Lighthouse Club Nederland, working for preservation of Dutch lighthouses.

GERMANY

Germany has two coastlines, one facing northwest on the North Sea and the other facing northeast on the Baltic Sea. Interest in lighthouses is strong in Germany, and most of the towers are in good condition. A federal law provides blanket protection to historic lighthouses. There is concern, however, that many of the lights may be deactivated in the coming years as navigators depend less and less on them. In German, a lighthouse is a Leuchtturm ("light tower"), plural Leuchttürme. A rugged coastline, sometimes dominated by sheer cliffs and steep rock faces, many islands and an intense maritime trade. These are the reasons for so many lighthouses in Germany: on the postcard a sample of 24 of them.

FRANCE

Phare de la Vieille (Vieille lighthouse) is a lighthouse in the département of Finistère on the northwest coast of France. Built between 1882 and 1887 on the rock known as la Gorlebella , it illuminates and improves the safety of the strait Raz de Sein. The 27m (89 ft) square granite tower is located in a remote position in rough seas. In 1995, it became the second to last French lighthouse to be automated, a process delayed due to the lighthouse keepers on the site refusing in protest to carry out the task.

USA

Cape Neddick Lighthouse stands on an island about 100yd (90m) off Cape Neddick Point at York Beach, Maine. Built in 1879 and still in use today, the light station is one of Maine's best known and most visited lighthouses. The round cylindrical cast iron tower stands 41 feet (12.5 m) tall and is adjacent to a 2-story wood keeper's house. The lighthouse is inaccessible to the general public, but the nearby mainland is occupied by Sohier Park which offers a telescope with which to view the lighthouse and a gift shop maintained by the Town of York.

CANADA

Nova Scotia is the province at the extreme southeastern corner of Canada. The southern and eastern parts of the province lie on a peninsula facing the Atlantic. It is separated from the mainland of Nova Scotia by the Strait of Canso and is divided into two parts by the large Bras d'Or Lake. The island has a distinctive history: it was a French colony until 1763 and it was a British colony, separate from Nova Scotia, from 1784 to 1820. The rugged and irregularly shaped island is home of several lighthouses that signal navigation in peninsulas and bays.

Friday, May 14, 2010

ITALY

This famous and magnificent lighthouse is located near the ferry-boat terminal in Genoa, capital of the region of Liguria. La Lanterna (as it is known) is the symbol of Genoa and the arms of the city are painted on the sides of the lower stage. It is a 77 m (253 ft) two-stage square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and two galleries, one at the top of each stage. Built on a rock of 40 metres of height, the top of the Lanterna stands therefore at 117 metres above the sea level. Its light is visible from more than 50 kilometres away. The lighthouse, as we see it today, was built in 1543; it is believed that the original lighthouse (which was nearly as tall) stood on this site as early as 1128 (another source says 1161), and a lamp fueled by olive oil was installed in 1326.
The lighthouse was restored by the Provincia di Genova between 1995 and 2004. Visitors are allowed to climb 172 steps to the first gallery, which is 36 m (118 ft) above the foot of the tower and 76 m (249 ft) above the water. A museum has been built nearby in part of the Savoy fortifications that surround the tower. Here it is possible to see lamps, lenses and other lighthouse-related objects.

ITALY

The Mangiabarche Lighthouse is located in the Mediterranean Sea near the southwestern coast of Sardinia. It is located off the northwest point of the Isola di Sant'Antioco, marking the 2.4 km (1.5 mi) wide channel between that island and the Isola di San Pietro. It was built in 1935 on a rock whose Italian name is Mangiabarche meaning in English "Boat Eater". The 11 m (36 ft) round stone tower warn of the nearly invisible shoals in the channel.