Lighthouses as a tourism product
Estonian lighthouses have a 500-year-old history: due to the close proximity of the bank of Hiiumadal, or Neckmansgrund, to the Baltic Sea major shipping lane, construction of Estonia’s first lighthouse, the Kõpu lighthouse on Hiiumaa Island began on the initiative of Tallinn municipal authorities as early as in the 16th century.
Today, the Estonian official list of aids to navigation includes 61 lighthouses, 187 light beacons and over 200 buoys. The IALA list of 100 lighthouses as historic and architectural monuments contains six Estonian lighthouses, those of Kõpu, Ruhnu, Tahkuna, Keri, Pakri, and Suurupi. The lighthouse of Kõpu is one of the world’s three oldest aids to navigation still in operation.
"Each and every one of them has had a hard fate and has led an intriguing life. Lighthouses form a silent bridge across the time and space. Although many of them carry a certain date or a year cut into a stone hidden in the doorway or under basement, lighthouses as symbols are timeless." (P. Peetsalu "The world of Estonian lighthouses")
In modern times, these ancient guardians of safe navigation are acquiring new meanings: lighthouse as a landmark giving specific accent to the coast, as a historic, cultural or architectural monument, a place of accommodation or as a tourist attraction.
In the framework of the INTERREG IIIA Programme project "Lighthouses as a tourism product" contacts will be established between organisations and individuals operating, maintaining and developing lighthouses, a common development plan for lighthouse tourism in Estonia and Finland will be compiled, promotional materials will be printed, and information boards will be installed. The webpage of the Project is at:
Lighthouse Tourism Development Plan for Finland and Estonia 2008-2013
Lighthouses on Estonian Islands