Kõpu Lighthouse

Hiiumaa, Estonia

Kõpu Lighthouse s one of the best known symbols and tourist sights on the Estonian island of Hiiumaa. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world, having been in continuous use since its completion in 1531.

The most important East–West shipping lane in the Baltic Sea passed the Hiiu sandbank. Already before the year 1490 the Hanseatic merchants were seeking permission to mark this peninsula with an outstanding landmark. On 20 April 1500 Bishop Johannes III Orgas (John Orgies) agreed to allow a massive stone pillar without any openings. To cover the building costs, Tallinn city council had to establish a special lighthouse tax until the sum was complete. After couple of interruptions and major costs a fire was first lit in the autumn of 1531; it was simply a bonfire on top of the tower.

In August 1649 a wooden staircase was built to the outside wall of the tower and an open iron fire grate affixed to the top. Originally it was planned to burn coal in the lighthouse, but due to high transport costs of coal, wood was used instead. Several reconstructions were made by Swedish and Russian Empires between 17th and 21th centuries. A new light system was bought at the 1900 Paris World Fair, for three million gold rubles. The new apparatus (including the light chamber) was made by Sautter, Marlé & Co. It used a kerosene lamp with a gas mantle.

Kõpu Lighthouse only lost its important role as a primary navigation aid in 1997, when a radar lighthouse took over its duties. Recreational craft and small fishing vessels continue to rely on Kõpu for navigating, as a backup to electronic navigation systems. The Estonian Maritime Administration still classifies it as an active aid to navigation. Its future is ensured by its status as a protected cultural memorial.

Due to its enduring popularity and memorable shape, it is often used as a symbol of Hiiumaa. A major tourist attraction, the tower has been open for tourists since 1999. Together with the nearby Ristna lighthouse, the Kõpu lighthouse was commemorated on a postage stamp in 2000.

Reference: Wikipedia

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1531
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Estonia
Historical period: Danish and Livonian Order (Estonia)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dimo (6 months ago)
We had a nice time. Delicious cakes!
Kaddi Baesch (11 months ago)
We didn't expect to find such a delicious lunch here! I had herring with potatoes and salad, my wife chicken with fries & salad. Friendly staff & quick service. And don't forget to climb the lighthouse!
Fearlessflyer3 (2 years ago)
A lot of history here holding the third oldest constructed Lighthouse in the world! The scenery once you get to the top is amazing! Swallows circle the lighthouse, with very friendly staff.
Johannes Ebert (2 years ago)
Nice cake after visiting the lighthouse. It's a cozy place with a sweet terrace! Everyone is friendly and they offer a few dishes on the menu like salt and pancakes. The cake seems housemade and is delicious! The coffee is not really good. Watery and not pleasant to drink. Cake: 4€ Coffee latte 3.50€
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, then probably damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence, before being rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c. 1340–1420), the son of King Robert II of Scots, and Regent of Scotland from 1388 until his death. Duke Robert"s stronghold has survived relatively unchanged and complete, and the whole castle was traditionally thought of as the result of a single period of construction at this time. The castle passed to the crown in 1425, when Albany"s son was executed, and was used as a royal hunting lodge and dower house.

In the later 16th century, Doune became the property of the Earls of Moray. The castle saw military action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and Glencairn"s rising in the mid-17th century, and during the Jacobite risings of the late 17th century and 18th century.