The slender lighthouse (Kiipsaare Tuletorn in Estonian) off the coast of the Estonian island of Saaremaa, on the Harilaid peninsula, casually leans to one side, continually beaten by the tireless waves of the Baltic Sea.
When the beacon was built, in 1933, it stood on solid ground, more than 25 meters in from the coast. However, over the course of the later 20th century, due erosion, the tower was literally set out to sea. So, the concrete structure has kept moving farther into the sea (or, rather, the sea has kept pushing it away from the shoreline), with the waves and currents causing its famous tilt.
Standing 25 meters tall, the history of the Kiipsaare lighthouse goes back further than its construction. A station has been on this spot since 1879, to guide ships through the dangerous and shifting shores of Estonia. Over the course of the 80-plus years since this one was built, the lonely lighthouse has become more and more a victim of the coastline. Today it is surrounded by water and has been inactive since 1992. It’s not clear what is ultimately in store for the beacon and the options are as wide open as the Baltic Sea itself.
Author’s notes: the lighthouse is off the northwest coast of Estonia’s Saaremaa island and It is located in the Vilsandi National Park nature reserve. Officially the lighthouse is closed, but the outside door is long gone and if you are able to heave yourself up, you can take the stairs all the way to the top.
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