We are off the coast of the Greek port city of Andros. Rising up out of the islet of Tourlitis, a weather-worn stone spire opposite the harbor at Chora, on Andros island, Tourlitis Lighthouse looks like something straight out of a fantasy novel.
The beacon was first built in 1897 just off shore from a castle in Andros. The stone column on which it was built had been shaped by millennia of natural erosion into the perfect pedestal for a coastal beacon. Unfortunately the original lighthouse was short-lived, and was destroyed during World War II.
Despite for a time the rocky outcropping went without a proper lighthouse (a simple scaffold tower was erected on Tourlitis), the lovely beacon was eventually rebuilt in the early 1990s at the expenses of Alexandros Goulandris, an oil tycoon of Andros island. He and his wife dedicated the lighthouse in memory of their deceased daughter Violanda.
The replica became Greece’s first automated lighthouse, eliminating the need for an onsite keeper to operate the light. And, in addition, it is the only Greek lighthouse to be built entirely by Greek hands.
But even with the modern upgrade, the lighthouse still looks like something out of a perfect wizard’s tower, with the winding staircase hewn from the rock itself, leading up to the door of the tower.
Since its renovation in 1994, it has become one of the area’s foremost tourist attractions, drawing lighthouse lovers and photographers who come to gawk at its singular beauty.
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