Sunday, 12 September 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM SOUTH AFRICA

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is South Africa's third oldest light station and second oldest surviving lighthouse (after Green Point). First lit on March 1st, 1849, its design is modeled on the original Egyptian Pharos of Alexandria. It is a 27 m (89 ft) sandstone tower painted white with two red horizontal bands, rising through the center of a 1-story keeper's house.
The lighthouse marks the geographic southernmost point of Africa and the junction of the Atlantic Ocean (cold Benguela Current) and Indian Ocean (warm Agullhas Current). When seafaring Portuguese vessels rounded this cape tip in the 15th century their compass needles would swing unable to determine True North from Magnetic North. As a result, in 1488 the Portuguese navigator, Bartolomeu Dias, name this ocean site “Cabo das Agulhas” (Cape of Needles).
This historic lighthouse was deactivated in 1968 when deterioration of the sandstone walls made the tower appear unsafe. Twenty years of public effort led by the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum secured a complete restoration and reactivation in 1988. Today the keeper's house includes the only lighthouse museum in South Africa and a restaurant.
The South African Post Office released a series of colourful commemorative stamps to mark the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The stamps were issued on 11 June, the opening day of the football event. The stamps are round in shape and depict the gold Fifa World Cup trophy, the official logo, and the Jabulani, the official match ball.

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