Saturday, November 27, 2010

FRANCE

The Biarritz Lighthouse is nonetheless one of the most remarkable of French coastline. It is one of the lighthouses designed by Augustin Fresnel himself: the construction of the tower began in 1830 and not completed until 1834. The 47 m (154 ft) masonry tower rises from the center of a 2-story octagonal keeper's house. It is located at the end of the Avenue de l'Impératrice, on the promontory of Cap Hainsart, on the north side of the resort city of Biarritz, in south-western France. After climbing a spiral staircase of 248 steps you reach the upper deck and have a breathtaking view of the Atlantic on one side and the Pyrénées mountains on the other.

GERMANY

The Kiel-Holtenau Lighthouse is located at the end of the Thiessenkai, the quay on the north side of the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal), the busiest artificial waterway in the world, in Holtenau, about 12 km (7.5 mi) north of Kiel. The 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery rising from the front of a 2-story brick Imperial-style building was built in 1895. The building includes a memorial hall, the Drei-Kaiser-Gedächtnishalle, in remembrance of Kaisers Wilhelm I, who inaugurated construction of the canal in 1887; Friedrich III, who turned the first shovel of dirt here in 1888, and Wilhelm II, who laid the cornerstone of the lighthouse in 1895. It also houses a registrar's office where weddings are performed.

SOUTH AFRICA

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is South Africa's third oldest light station and second oldest surviving lighthouse (after Green Point). First lit on March 1st, 1849, its design is modeled on the original Egyptian Pharos of Alexandria. It is a 27 m (89 ft) sandstone tower painted white with two red horizontal bands, rising through the center of a 1-story keeper's house.
The lighthouse marks the geographic southernmost point of Africa and the junction of the Atlantic Ocean (cold Benguela Current) and Indian Ocean (warm Agullhas Current). When seafaring Portuguese vessels rounded this cape tip in the 15th century their compass needles would swing unable to determine True North from Magnetic North. As a result, in 1488 the Portuguese navigator, Bartolomeu Dias, name this ocean site “Cabo das Agulhas” (Cape of Needles).
This historic lighthouse was deactivated in 1968 when deterioration of the sandstone walls made the tower appear unsafe. Twenty years of public effort led by the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum secured a complete restoration and reactivation in 1988. Today the keeper's house includes the only lighthouse museum in South Africa and a restaurant.

SPAIN

Maspalomas Lighthouse is located in the Punta de Maspalomas, at the southern tip of the Isla de Gran Canaria, Spain and is one of the island's best known tourist attractions. It is the third highest lighthouse in Spain: a 56 m (184 ft) round stone tower attached to one corner of a 2-story keeper's house. The decision to build a lighthouse on the southern coast of the island was taken in 1861. Construction lasted 28 years and the lighthouse lamp was lit on February 1st, 1890. The lighthouse, at the end of the beach of Maspalomas, is surrounded by an area of sand dunes interspersed with wetlands in a protected nature reserve.

Monday, November 8, 2010

ESTONIA

This is presently the world's best known leaning lighthouse: the Kiipsaare Lighthouse located on the Harilaid peninsula, on the northwestern coast of Saaremaa Island, Estonia. The 25 m (82 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands was built in 1933. Originally it was placed 25 meters from the coastline but endangered by beach erosion, the lighthouse stands now at the water's edge. The lighthouse is located at the Vilsandi National Park, a nature reserve on the Estonian island and it is possible to park the car at the entrance of the park and walk the remaining 5 km to the tower. Visit it soon, because it seems very likely the tower will collapse within a few years at most.

ENGLAND

This postcard brings lighthouses of the southwestern peninsula of England in the county of Cornwall. The northern coast of the peninsula faces the Atlantic Ocean while the south coast faces the English Channel. This region includes many of the most famous English lighthouses. Land's End is the extreme south-westerly point of the British mainland, and the extreme westerly point of the mainland of England.
Longships Lighthouse is the round granite tower with a helipad on the top, swept by waves. It is located on Carn Bras, the largest of the Longships Rocks, about 1.5 km (1 mi) west of Land's End.
The next tower in the counterclockwise is Pendeen Lighthouse, a white concrete-clad rubblestone tower located on the promontory called Pendeen Watch, about 2 km (1.2 mi) north of Pendeen.
Trevose Head Lighthouse is the 26.5 m (87 ft) white brick tower attached to two 1-story keeper's houses located about 8 km (5 mi) northwest of Padstow. Trevose Head is a peninsula at the northwestern tip of Cornwall.
Godrevy Island is situated at the northeastern entrance to St. Ives's Bay where rugged cliffs rise from the sea. The white octagonal tower in the center of the island inspired the author Virginia Wolff to write her famous novel The Lighthouse (1927).

CURAÇAO

Curaçao is an island off the coast of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean Sea. It is the central and largest of the so-called ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao). The island is about 65 km (40 mi) long but only 5-13 km (3-8 mi) in width; it has a permanent population of about 140,000. Klein Curaçao is a 1.7 km2 uninhabited island south-east of Curaçao and the light station buildings are the only structures on the barren island. Built in 1850, the 20 m (66 ft) round masonry tower is connected to two ruined 2-story keepers’ houses. Previously abandoned and still endangered, this historic lighthouse was nonetheless reactivated with a solar-powered LED beacon in the restoration of Curaçao's aids to navigation.

POLAND

The Stilo Lighthouse is located atop a hill (45 m above sea level) about 800 m (1/2 mi) from the seashore, not far from the hamlet of Stilo, and 7 km (4.5 mi) east of Łeba, on the Baltic coast of Poland. The 33.5 m (110 ft) 16-sided cast iron tower was built in 1904 by German engineers and put into operation in 1906. The tricolored lighthouse is attached to a 3-story brick keeper's house and 1-story brick generator and equipment house. The ten storeys of the tower are reached by means of a right-hand spiral staircase (122 steps) and three mobile phone antennae were installed in the lower gallery in April 2000. This beautiful cast iron lighthouse survived both world wars almost intact and looks today, after some repairs and conservation work, much as it did when it was built.