International Lighthouse Weekend

Who knew this was ILLW, or International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend?

Well, in Greece the Navy has opened 30 Lighthouses to the public, who can visit and find out about their history and the way they work.

 

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Lighthouses are used to mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, and safe entries to harbors. They can also assist in aerial navigation. However, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and use of electronic navigational systems.

Older lighthouses, especially half-ruined ones, are romantic structures, having about them the whiff of history – stories connected to lonely lives, pirates and derring do at sea.

Before the development of clearly defined ports, mariners were guided by fires built on hilltops. To improve visibility, the fires were placed on a platform, a practice that led to the development of the lighthouse.

The most famous lighthouse structure from antiquity was the Pharos of Alexandria, built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280 and 247 BC. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was between 120 and 137 m tall, and one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for many centuries, until badly damaged by three earthquakes between AD 956 and 1323.

 

Drawing by archaeologist Hermann Thiersch (1909)
Drawing of the Phoros of Alexandria by archaeologist Hermann Thiersch (1909)

So if there is a lighthouse near you, perhaps today would be a good time to visit.

40 thoughts on “International Lighthouse Weekend

  1. Lots of lighthouses here in the UK, Marina. Many have great stories to tell, and some are open to the public. You can even stay in a few, which have been converted into holiday accommodation, or have old cottages next to them.
    .http://www.ruralretreats.co.uk/lighthouse-cottages

    If you have £975,000 to spare (1,126,000 Euros), you can even buy this one, in Wales!
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/welsh-homes/converted-lighthouse-sale-8-bedrooms-8562432

    This is the closest one to where we live. (The place is pronounced as ‘Hazeborough’, despite being spelled ‘Happisburgh’).
    http://www.happisburgh.org/lighthouse

    Best wishes from a fellow lighthouse fan!
    Pete.

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  2. Your very interesting post made me look up the current situation in Australia, especially since we are an island nation. Well we still seem to have some 350 of them around the coastline, but they were all deactivated in the 1980s as they were too expensive to keep up in an era of modern radar on ships. Here many seem to be for sale and quite a few are rented out by the Government to bring in just a little revenue for upkeep. I lived for years near the very famous Cape Byron Lighthouse [the easternmost point in Australia] . . . beautiful place to take friends . . . was never there on an open day tho’ . . . oh, and I DO so like your painting: atmospheric . . . thanks for all . . .

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  3. I can’t keep up with all the International Days. But funnily enough there’s a lighthouse not too far from where I live. To visit it means a bus ride and then a long but easy walk around the coast. Great on a sunny day, if there’s not much wind. Coincidentally, at the weekend I was thinking it’s been several years since I last went there.

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      1. It was! and also a bit dangerous climbing up and down the cliff. But when I visited a few years ago, they’d “gentrified” the whole cliff so tourists are now able to invade all the formerly adventurous nooks 😦 Btw I found out the Italian government will start auctioning off lots of lighthouses in September, and candidates must have viable projects for maintenance and to develop hospitality venues

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  4. As we live about 30 or 40 miles inland, we’d be in real trouble if there were a lighthouse near us! I have like/dislike feelings about them… lovely to see them from a distance, but a bit looming close up. I knew an artist – David Smith, not to be confused with a more modern painter of the same name – who, later in his life, painted lighthouses. You can see a few here (click on the artist’s biography for more): http://www.thewallingtongallery.co.uk/products/lighthouse-at-flamborough-head-east-yorkshire-england

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  5. Who knew, indeed? That explains the open door of the lighthouse I saw yesterday up in Kenosha at the harbor. People were strolling out to in and walking right in, something I didn’t think I’d seen before. Now I wish I had. I love your painting 🙂

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