Friday, 5 March 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM ESTONIA

Estonia is a small country with a surprisingly long coastline, two large islands and countless small islands. To guard these coasts, Estonia has more than 70 lighthouses and a well-developed lighthouse administration. In Estonian, a lighthouse is a tuletorn (fire tower).
Kõpu lighthouse is undoubtedly the most famous tourist attraction on Hiiumaa island( the second largest island in Estonia). The 36 m (118 ft) massive square stone tower with pyramid-shaped base was constructed in 1531 and is believed to be the third oldest continually operating lighthouse in the world. The construction of this lighthouse was a remarkable feat considering the remoteness of the location and the lack of modern technology. Originally, a large fire burned atop the lighthouse and its appetite for wood resulted in the deforestation of a large part of Kõpu peninsula. . The brick top section of the tower was built in 1659. The Russian government took over operation of the tower from local authorities in 1805 and added a lantern in 1845. The lighthouse is open to the public and for a small fee you can walk to the top and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Baltic Sea as well as much of the island.

Year after year, Estonia Post issues stamps of the well-known lighthouse series and increases my thematic collection. The stamp issued on March 8, 2007 highlights Juminda lighthouse, a 24 m (79 ft) cylindrical concrete tower (upper half painted black, lower half white) built in 1931 and located at the tip of the Juminda peninsula. The Kopu lighthouse (the same on the postcard) is present at the stamp issued on February 25,2000. Thank you, Karin.

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