Lighthouses of Latvia
KOLKA Lighthouse

 ISSUE 2003

The present building of the lighthouse is situated about 7 kilometres far in the sea at the end of the dangerous shoal. The lighthouse was built in 1884 on an artificially made island. The stones for the island were brought from the neighbourhood. The performance of the lighthouse has been gradually improved. At present it works automatically, from 1993 - with the help of solar batteries.

 Lighthouses of Latvia
 Mikelbaka lighthouse

 ISSUE 2004

Miķeļbāka lighthouse, which is 62 metres high, was built in 1884 and is the highest lighthouse in the Baltic region. It has an observation platform at the height of 56 metres. Earlier walls of the lighthouse were about one meter thick, however, the tower was too heavy for the sand-dune and, thus, over the course of time it slanted.

 Lighthouses of Latvia
 Daugavgrivas lighthouse

 ISSUE 2005

The lighthouse at Daugavgriva is one of the best known Latvia’s lighthouses. Its location is a common point of various historical events. The fast-changing stream of the Daugava River runs nearby. Owing to these circumstances, several towers of the Daugavgrīva lighthouse have been built, destroyed, and rebuilt again over the course of history. The first lighthouse was constructed by Swedes at the turn of the 18th century, right where the present-day mouth of the Daugava River is. Back then it was a stone layer with watch-fires at the top. The next lighthouse was a wooden tower on the masonry foundation. But it was demolished during the Crimean War in 1854, and instead, cannons were put on the masonry foundation for firing at the ships of the British Royal Navy. Then, a fundamental cast-iron lighthouse was erected in 1863. It stood till World War I, when it was blown up by the Russian military troops as they retreated eastward from Riga. The same fate befell the lighthouse made of the reinforced concrete, which was built in 1921 during Latvia’s period of independence. This time it was exploded by the German troops as they retreated from Riga in the opposite direction – westward. After the war, a temporary 20 m tall wooden tower of the lighthouse was constructed, but was devastated again by a powerful storm in autumn 1956. But soon enough, a new reinforced-concrete Daugavgrīva lighthouse, painted with black-and-white horizontal stripes, began to send its light on February 2, 1957, and broadcasts its signals up to the present day. Enjoy the view from the lighthouse, after climbing a spiral staircase of one hundred and fifty steps inside the tower, overlooking the Daugava River, its mouth, the Port of Riga, and Riga skyline. Andris Cekuls

 Lighthouses of Latvia
Lighthouse Mersraga 

 ISSUE 2006

The earliest information about Mērsrags is from the 15th. century, when it was a small fishing hamlet beside the Gulf of Riga. There are many stories and myths about Mērsrags. Pirates, who lured ships ashore and plundered them, used to live here. During the ducal period, there was a large production of soap.
In 1842 a canal was dug from the north end of Lake Engure to the sea and in 1843 Mērsrags began to develop. In 1880 a lighthouse had been completed and the first ship was launched from the dockyard. Altogether 22 sailing ships were built in Mērsrags. Between 1860 and 1915 66 sailing ships were built in Upesgriva village.
Until 1918 Mērsrags village and Upesgrīva village belonged to the parish of the Engure manor but in 1918 Mērsrags became a separate parish. Likewise in 1926 Upesgrīva became a separate parish.
In 1926 a narrow-gauge railway came to Mērsrags and in 1927 the port was built to satisfy the needs of fishing boats and shipping.
In the 60’s (20.th century) the development of the fish farm collective resulted in a great increase in the production of fish and canned products. The first block of flats and a distant steam heating plant were built. A new fish processing plant was constructed as well as a net repair shop and an engineering workshop. The village roads were repaired and asphalted.

 Lighthouses of Latvia
 Papes Lighthouse

 ISSUE 2007

Built in 1910, the Pape lighthouse is located at the southernmost point of Latvia, not far from the Lithuanian border. Out of all Latvia’s lighthouses it is the closest one to the sea, which is threatening its existence. The first wooden lighthouse tower was erected here as far back as 1887. At that time it was ordinarily called a Boundary beacon, and the reason for that was the near-by border between tsarist Russia and Prussia. Its light guided ships to the port of Liepāja. The modern lighthouse is a white iron cylinder sustained by a riveted iron frame construction. Though the lighthouse is now closed to visitors, back in 1923 a famous Latvian composer Emilis Melngailis once stayed overnight here, during his folklore expedition. Andris Cekuls

 Lighthouses of Latvia
 Akmenraga lighthouse.

 ISSUE 2008

Among other Latvia’s lighthouses, the Akmenrags lighthouse stands out with its location in one of the most dangerous places for navigation at the entire coast of the Baltic Sea. Its light marks the stony sandbank, which extends north-westward into the sea to a distance of two nautical miles or 3.7 km. The sea depth here is just over two meters. Over the years, the location area of the lighthouse has remained the same, while the coastline has receded. Despite the area having the navigation light since 1879, Akmeņrags has witnessed a number of shipwrecks. One of the well-known shipwrecks occurred in September 1923, when the Latvian steamer Saratow struck the ground. For a while, in 1919 Saratow became a shelter for the provisional government of Latvia. The present-day tower of the lighthouse was constructed in 1921, but the previous lighthouse was destroyed during World War I. The spiral staircase of one hundred and twenty six steps leads to the top of the Akmeņrags lighthouse. Andris Cekuls

 Lighthouses of Latvia
 Uzavas’ lighthouse.

 ISSUE 2010

The Užava lighthouse has been ranked among the most beautiful lighthouses of Latvia. It is built on one of the three high coats by the Baltic Sea. From a distance, the coast resembles a baking oven, thus a German-type name Backofen was given to the lighthouse in the 19th century. The lighthouse stands in a hard-to-reach place, on a 28 m high sand-hill, which is permanently threatened by the Baltic Sea waves. For this reason, the first coastal reinforcement – a dense log wall was constructed as far back as 1910. Later, fir-tree baskets filled with pebble stones, and big boulders were used instead. Today, the base of the lighthouse is protected by huge blocks of reinforced concrete. The original tower of the Užava lighthouse was destroyed by artillery shells during World War I. The present-day lighthouse tower is 19 m tall and its construction was completed in 1925. And the inscription of the year 1924 on a weather vane on the tower’s dome roof marks the beginning of construction works of the Užava lighthouse. Andris Cekuls

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