Falsterbo Lighthouse lies on the place of the oldest known beacon in Scandinavia. The sea route past the Falsterbo Headland has always been dangerous, because of the moving sand banks hidden in the sea. The first beacon was lit by German monks already in the 13th century. By that time Falsterbo was an important trading centre in Denmark. The beacon was placed at the then outermost point. When the trading became less important (16th century) there were periods without any beacon at Falsterbo. This caused a great loss of ships of the coast of Falsterbo.
In the 1630s the open fires were replaced by a lever light. An iron basket full of burning coal was hoisted up and down by a balanced bar. Hence the light was moving and easier to detect. The coal fire was intensely red and could not be mistaken for a star or ship lantern. The rests of the beacon are still visible as a small hillock of ashes and coal, "Coal Hill" (Kolabacken). Towards the end of the 18th century the lever light was moved to the site of the present lighthouse, closer to the new shoreline.
The lighthouse was built in 1793-96 and the "light" was a coal fire at the top. In 1842-43 the uppermost crenellated parts were replaced with the present lantern. Coal was replaced with oil. The oil was very inflammable and the lighthouse keepers had to watch the lamp all night. To make a periodic light; a screen was moved around the lantern by heavy plummets. Around 1850 a house for the keeper was built next to the lighthouse. At the end of the 19th century another house was built for the assistants to the lighthouse keeper.
Also when the oil was replaced with parraffine and, later, gas, the screen still had to be moved around. When electric light was installed in 1935 the screen was removed and so was a major part of the staff. Only one lighthouse keeper remained. In 1972 the lighthouse was automatised and the last keeper retired.
The lighthouse is 25 metres high and 12 metres broad. Nowadays it has no importance as a navigation mark and therefore the light is not very strong. It was totally turned off 1990-93.
Even though the lighthouse is managing itself nowadays, there are still lots of activities around it. Falsterbo is one of twenty synoptic weather stations in Sweden still manned. The lighthouse garden is the ringing site of the Falsterbo Bird Observatory. Falsterbo is a premier site in Europe to watch autumn bird migration. Every year on last Sunday of August it is "Lighthouse Day". Then the lighthouse is open to the public. Visitors are shown not only the lighthouse itself but also bird ringing and the weather station.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.