When we see the word "lighthouse" we often think of the stereotypical red and white towers, but many lighthouses across the world have very beautiful and unique designs that make them a one of a kind.
1. Horse Lighthouses, Jeju City, South Korea
South Korea is known for its unique modern architecture and its amazing design ideas. The perfect example of these are the impressive lighthouses of Jeju City. Many of them have a gaudy red color and very unique modern designs, although the most interesting and well-loved ones by tourists and locals are the Iho Hang West and East Breakwater Lighthouses. These two are 39 ft (12 m) tall concrete towers, shaped like horses and colored red and white respectively, with lanterns on their heads. The lighthouses are accessible by a short walk on a pier near the beach and serve a perfect attraction for the visitors to Jeju.
2. Orthodox Church Lighthouse, Crimea, Ukraine
The St. Nicholas Church-Lighthouse in the village of Malorichenske in Crimea was built in 2007 and aside from its main function it serves as an Orthodox church, a sea victims memorial, and even as a museum to water accidents. This unique lighthouse is 197 feet (60 meters) tall and is richly decorated with the frescoes, mosaics and beautiful marine-themed architecture elements. The local story also says that the paralyzed man who decorated the Saint Nicolas icon that was to be put in the lighthouse had his hands miraculously healed, which he attributes to the blessing of St. Nicholas, which adds to the unique spirituality and the beautiful atmosphere of the place.
3. Pink Lighthouse, Florida, USA
The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light is a beautiful lighthouse located in Ponce de Leon Inlet in Florida. It is considered one of the tallest lighthouses in the USA, and the tallest lighthouse in Florida, and, among many other things, is known for its notable pink color. The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light is 207 ft (63m) tall, and has a long history of modernization and reconstructions. It started as a 19th century kerosene lamp lighthouse, to prevent shipwrecks in the area, and it was completely electrified in 1933. A museum was opened there in 1972 and later in 1998 the lighthouse was declared a National Historic Landmark. This beautiful, unique lighthouse is open to the public every day, and is avalable for climbing, attracting tourists and photographers from all around the world.
4. World's Most Ancient Lighthouse, Spain
The Tower of Hercules is a lighthouse near Corunna in Spain. The date when it was built is unknown but according to historians and archeologists, it definitely existed by the 2nd century AD, making it the oldest functioning lighthouse in the world. The Tower of Hercules is 180ft (55 meters) tall, and was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. One more amazing thing about this lighthouse is that it was most likely built after the design of the well-known Lighthouse of Alexandria, making it possible to imagine what the legendary tower used to look like. The Tower of Hercules is surrounded by myths and legends, and despite going through big restorations in the 18th century, it still keeps the major parts of its original Ancient Roman architecture. The Latin inscription still exists, which says the name of the architect who built it and that the lighthouse was dedicated to the god of war, Mars.
5. Most Haunted Lighthouse, Florida, USA
The St. Augustine Light Station was built in 1824 and is known as the first lighthouse established in Florida. However it is not the only thing that makes it a popular place for visit, as St. Augustine is widely famous for its regular ghost sightings and paramormal activity. It made the place known as one of the most haunted lighthouses in the world and attracted both paranormal investigators and simple tourists who wanted to have a paranormal experience of their own. People report different strange sightings connected to the St. Augustine Lighthouse, including strange noises and even video recordings of strange shadows and figures wandering around it and the surrounding buildings. Although the most popular stories are about the ghostly feminine figures which haunt the lighthouse and its territory. Local legends give many identities to the ghosts that haunt the grounds, from former keepers to buried pirates to the daughters of a man hired to renovate the lighthouse in the 1800s. St Augustine gladly provides night tours for everyone wishing to check if the legends are true, so if you are daring enough, you can easily visit this unique place.
6. The World's Tallest Lighthouse, Saudi Arabia
The Jeddah Lighthouse in the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia proudly claims the title of the world's tallest lighthouse. This magnificent tower is 436 feet (133 m) tall and is naturally located in the city's sea port. It was constucted in 1990 from concrete and steel and aside from being a popular photography spot due to its unique design, it serves a very important purpose, controlling the city's port and harbour from above, impressing everyone who sees it from a distance or from a close view.
7. The Smallest Lighthouse in the World, Scotland
North Queensferry Lighthouse claims to be the smallest working lighthouse in the world. It was built on the pier of the village of the same name in 1812 by the famous Scottish Engineer, Robert Stevenson and still serves the local citizens very well today. This beautiful lighthouse is only 36.09 ft (11 m) high and was originally built for providing safe passage through the Firth of Forth, as the local ferries needed guidance. Later, when the ferry services stopped, it was abandoned, only to be restored by the government decades later in 2010. This day it is a fully working lighthouse, a popular place for visit, and one of the main attractions of the village. Visitors can even learn how to light the lighthouse and how its unique lighting system worked in the old days.
8. Nuclear Lighthouse, Russia
The lighthouse of Cape Aniva was originally built by a Japanese Engineer, Shinobu Miura, in 1939 and was considered a great achivement as it was located in a very remote and dangerous area of the Sea of Okhotsk. It became a part of the Soviet Union in 1945, still keeping its importance and serving the local ships lighting the way through the chaotic waters. The Aniva Cape Lighthouse is 131 ft (40m) tall and was originally designed to host seven floors of crew quaters and other rooms for the worker's basic needs. Later, though, because of its location that made it difficult to access, the Soviet government decided to make it completely unmanned and automatic, which led to the idea of installing a nuclear power unit inside of the building. The idea wasn't that unusual for the Soviet Union in that time period, as along with Aniva, several other lighthouses had those nuclear power sources specifically designed for them.
These days the lighthouse remains abandoned, its reconstruction delayed because of the risk of the radioactive pollution around the lighthouse territory, as its power source was removed and lays somewhere near the structure. Nevertheless this strange lighthouse remains a rather popular urban exploring spot for people who can get there, intriguing people with its unique story and impressive look.
9. Black Lighthouse, Australia
The Queenscliff High Light stands in the historical area of Fort Queenscliff in the town of Queenscliff in Australia. It was build in 1862 to replace an even older lighthouse which used to stand there since 1843. Its design is not that different from the other lighthouse towers built in those times, except for one interesting detail: it is completely black. This tower is completely made of basalt, or bluestone as it is known to the Australians. Bluestone is very hard, very difficult to work with, and used to be a very popular building material in 1850s Australia. The unique color of the stone makes this lighthouse one of the only three black lighthouses in the world and the only one in the whole southern hemisphire. It is 59 ft (18 meters) tall, and is completely automatic now, with no men required to run it.
10. Europe's Northernmost Lighthouse, Norway
The Slettnes Lighthouse near the village of Gamvik in Norway is considered the European mainland's northernmost lighthouse. It is said it often marks the top of Europe along with the Fruholmen Lighthouse, the latter of which is technically more northern, but it located on an island instead of the mainland. This unique lighthouse was built in 1905 as a 128 ft (39 meters) iron tower and, despite being damaged during WWII and later restored, it still fuctions today, completely automatic since 2005.
Marcy Bialeschki from Cerro Gordo, IL on April 25, 2020:
I loved this article. I have always been fascinated by lighthouses. Thanks for a good read and great information.
Johan Smulders from East London, South Africa on November 24, 2016:
Interesting article. I collect photos of lighthouses and so enjoyed it very much. One I enjoy in the most southern one in Africa at Agulhas. Light house accommodation is becoming popular in South Africa for tourists.