Lighthouse in Hel
This lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

 is located in the town of Hel
Hel, Poland
Hel is a town in Puck County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland, located on the tip of the Hel Peninsula, some 33 kilometres from the Polish mainland.-Early developments:...

, Pomeranian Voivodeship
Pomeranian Voivodeship
Pomeranian Voivodeship, or Pomerania Province , is a voivodeship, or province, in north-central Poland. It comprises most of Pomerelia , as well as an area east of the Vistula River...

 in Poland. It is at the eastern tip of the Hel peninsula
Hel Peninsula
Hel Peninsula |Nehrung]]) is a 35-km-long sand bar peninsula in northern Poland separating the Bay of Puck from the open Baltic Sea. It is located in Puck County of the Pomeranian Voivodeship.- Geography :...

 and guides ship traffic into Gdańsk Bay
Gdansk Bay
Gdańsk Bay or the Bay of Gdańsk or Danzig Bay is a southeastern bay of the Baltic Sea. It is named after the adjacent port city of Gdańsk in Poland and is sometimes referred to as a gulf.-Geography:...

 and the Bay of Puck
Bay of Puck
The Bay of Puck or Puck Bay , historically also known as the Bay of Putzig , is a shallow western branch of the Bay of Gdańsk in the southern Baltic Sea, off the shores of Gdańsk Pomerania, Poland. It is separated from the open sea by the Hel Peninsula.The bay has an average depth of 2-6 metres...



The lighthouse on Hel has its origins in the 16th century, when a fire was lit on the church tower at a height of 116 feet to guide ships. The structure burned down. In 1638 locals asked Gdańsk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

 authorities to build a lighthouse on the peninsula. After deliberation, a wooden structure was erected circa 1640, with a range of about 6 miles. In 1667 it burned down, too.

Two further attempts at construction failed as well. However, seafaring in this area of the Baltic
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 remained hazardous, so around 1790 another effort was made. A site was allocated, including a lighthouse-keeper's residence. The light was to be lit every day.

Though effectiveness improved, the lighthouse soon faced the problem of being obscured by growing trees. The construction of the first brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

 lighthouse started in 1806. Due to civil wars the effort dragged on until 1826.

The brick lighthouse wasn't high enough and ships continued to sink between Jastarnia
Jastarnia is a small town in Puck County, Pomeranian Voivodship, northern Poland. It is located on the Hel Peninsula on the Baltic Sea. Popular Polish seaside resort and small fishing port....

 and Hel. A cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 was placed at the lighthouse, fired every four minutes, as a sound signal. This continued until the gunner died in 1910. A stone commemorates the event to this day.

More improvements followed. The light source switched to a paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...

 lamp and the structure was renovated. Electric light
Electric light
Electric lights are a convenient and economic form of artificial lighting which provide increased comfort, safety and efficiency. Most electric lighting is powered by centrally-generated electric power, but lighting may also be powered by mobile or standby electric generators or battery systems...

 was installed in 1938 in the form of a 3000 watt bulb. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Germans decided to take down the structure, since it presented a perfect target for air raids.

In 1942 Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 ordered locals to erect a new lighthouse. It stood 10 meters to the southeast from the old one (now detonated). The new structure was modern, powered by electricity, and it's been in operation to this day.

The 40.8 meter tower is painted red and octagonal in shape. The light source is a 1000 watt bulb, set 38.5 meters above sea level, with a range of 17 miles. The lighthouse is also a part of an air traffic control system.

The lighthouse is a tourist attraction and open to the public during summer. Apart from the lighthouse itself, a few keeper houses remain, dating back to 19th century. Facing west, inland, one can see the Swedish Hill with an old lighthouse built during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

to replace the one destroyed in Hel at the same time.

External links

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