Lighthouses of Russia


Mys Aniva, Sakhalin, Russia

This lighthouse was built under extremely difficult conditions on what was once a jagged rock just off the southeastern-most cape of Sakhalin island. The Mys Aniva lighthouse is over three quarters of a century old and has seen a lot of history during its lifespan. Late 1930s when Sakhalin was divided between Japan and the USSR, the Japanese ordered it built as part of the treastie. After the Soviets seized the entire island of Sakhalin at the end of World War II. The Russians installed an RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) to supply electricity to the lamp – yes, this was a nuclear-powered lighthouse!

The fall of communism in the early 1990s led to a decade of near-chaos with funds for all purposes in short supply. The Mys Aniva lighthouse, isolated though it was and is, has been looted and ransacked for its metal fittings though luckily its RTGs were removed before the unofficial salvage crews arrived.


Kopu Lighthouse, Estonia

The Kõpu lighthouse on the northwestern tip of Hiiumaa has been the island’s most significant landmark since it was built on the orders of the Hanseatic League in 1490. Only in 1997 did it lose this role when radar from a smaller lighthouse took over from its beam of light, which could be seen over 40km away. Those fit enough to climb to the top will reach, at 100m, one of the higher spots in Estonia, with views over to Saaremaa as well as across the whole of Hiiumaa. This is best enjoyed around sunset. The interior of the lighthouse was completely renovated in 2002.

Originally, wooden fires provided the light and such enormous quantities of trees were felled to provide for this that, as a result, most of the Kõpu peninsula was deforested. A team of six was on duty every night to guard the fire but it still went out during storms. Oil was used briefly in the late 19th century; the electric light installed in 1900 was exhibited in the Paris Exhibition of that year and its use finally brought to an end both shipwrecks and piracy.


Volga-Don Canal East Entrance Lighthouse

1953 (R. Yakubov). Active (?). 26 m (85 ft) square concrete tower with a round, colonnaded chamber topped by a gallery. The lighthouse is unpainted concrete. The photo at right is from a Russian article on the canal, a closeup photo and a 2008 photo are available, has a photo, a Soviet postage stamp featured the lighthouse when it was completed in 1953, and Google has a satellite view. The tower was built to honor Volga sailors who fought to protect the city during the Russian Revolution in 1918-19 and during the epic Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43 during World War II. Located at the tip of a forested peninsula on the south side of Volgograd and the west side of the entrance from the Volga to the Volga-Don Canal. Site open; it is not known if the tower is ever open.



Bukhta Nagayeva Lighthouse, Magadan

Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; continuous red light. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) octagonal masonry tower with gallery, painted white. No lantern. A closeup and a wider view are available, and Google has a satellite view. Founded in 1929 and built initially by convict labor, Magadan is the only town of any size in the province and one of the most isolated cities of the world. The city is located at the head of the Bukhta Nagayeva, a fjord-like bay, and this light is the front light of the range that guides ships up the bay to the harbor. Located on the shore of the bay just to the west of the city. Site appears open, tower closed. ARLHS ARS-141; NGA 15562.2.


Egersheld Lighthouse, Vladivostok

It was named in honor of Peter the Great Bay’s legendary explorer, captain second rank Gustav Egersheld. In the year 1860, corvette ‘Griden’ arrived in Vladivostok under his command and spent almost a year in the Zolotoy Rog Bay, hunting and supplying the posts on the South-Ussuri Krai’s coast with provision. The crew built barracks and officer’s outhouse, raised workshop’s and smithy’s walls, equipped boat wharf with crane on the bay’s northern coas





15 thoughts on “Lighthouses of Russia

  1. Great history contained in your blog. Are they Viking ships sticking out from the Volga lighthouse? We have a lighthouse near Kells, in Ireland, standing in the middle of farmland.. It is many miles from the sea. It was built by an eccentric landlord as a folly…. a pointless but decorative building.

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