Lighthouses of Latvia

Latvia faces west on the Baltic Sea and north on the Gulf of Rīga, an elliptical basin connected to the Baltic by the Irbe Strait. The western part of the country occupies a broad peninsula between the Gulf and the Baltic, an area that was included in the independent Duchy of Courland (Kurzeme in Latvian) during the 17th and 18th centuries. Rīga and the east coast of the Gulf was part of Swedish Livonia during the 17th century.

The Russian Empire annexed Swedish Livonia in 1710 and Courland in 1795. Latvia remained part of the Russian Empire until the end of World War I in 1918. After two decades of independence, it was incorporated into the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1990. The older Latvian lighthouses are from the Russian Imperial period, and some of the newer ones are of Soviet construction.

Internationally, most locations on the coast of Latvia were known by their German names prior to World War I; these German names for the older lighthouses are shown in curly brackets {}.

The Latvian word for a lighthouse is bāka ("beacon"); the suffix -rags denotes a cape, and sala is an island. Lighthouses in Latvia are monitored and regulated by the Latvian Maritime Administration (Latvijas jūras administrācija) but are actually operated by the local port authorities in Liepāja, Ventspils and Rīga.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. UZ numbers are from the official Latvian light list, Ugunis un Zīmes. Light List numbers are from volume C of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 116.

General Sources
Lighthouse in Latvia
Information in English posted by the Latvian travel site Vietas.lv.
Online List of Lights - Latvia
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Most of the Latvian photos are by Klaus Kern.
List of Aids to Navigation
The official Latvian light list in .pdf format.
Vikipēdija - Latvijas Bākas
From the Latvian edition of Wikipedia, articles on the major lighthouses, some with photos.
Lighthouses in Latvia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme an der lettischen Küste
Photos of the major Latvian lighthouses taken in 2009 and posted by Bernd Claußen.
Latvian Lighthouses
Historic postcard images posted by Michel Forand.
Leuchttürme der ehemaligen deutschen Ostgebiete
Postcard views of historical German lighthouses on the Baltic coast, posted by Klaus Huelse.

Ovisi Light
Oviši Light, Ventspils, November 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Alvals

West Coast (Baltic Sea) Lighthouses

Rucava Municipality Lighthouse
* Pape {Pappenze} (2)
1910 (station established 1890). Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 2 s off. 22 m (72 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with central cylinder, lantern, and double gallery. Tower painted white, lantern and galleries red. The 1-story keeper's house appears to be in poor condition. Bronius Sriubas contributed the photo at right, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Klaus Kern's photo, Quinn Solomon has posted a good 2006 photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is similar to many skeletal lighthouses in the U.S., but its design is unusual for northern Europe. The lighthouse is endangered by beach erosion, and concrete barriers have been placed in front of it to deflect the waves. The surrounding area of dunes and wetlands is recognized for its ecological importance and is a popular destination for birders. Located just off the beach about 20 km (13 mi) east of Rucava and 8 km (5 mi) north of the Lithuanian border. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-012; UZ-890; Admiralty C3386; NGA 12052.

Nīca Municipality Lighthouse
* Bernāti (2)
1962 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 21 m (69 ft) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Lantern painted red, and the upper half of the tower carries a slatted daymark also painted red. Bronius Sriubas has contributed a photo, a 2008 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Michel Forand has a postcard view of an odd beacon that marked this cape during the 1930s. Located on a headland near Bernāti, about 11 km (7 mi) south of Liepāja. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-003; UZ-885; Admiralty C3390; NGA 12056.

Liepāja City Lighthouses
* Liepāja {Libau}
1868. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 33 m (108 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. A photo is below, Trabas has Kern's photo, a fine 2008 photo is available, a page in Latvian has a photo and historical information, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Michel Forand has a 1932 postcard photo, and Google has a satellite view. Liepāja is Latvia's principal port on the Baltic; before World War I it was an important base for the Russian Navy. The lighthouse was prefabricated in England by Chance Brothers. Damaged by German naval shelling during World War I, it was repaired in 1923-25. The original Fresnel lens was removed by Soviet troops early in World War II, but the lighthouse suffered no damage in that war. Located on the foot of the south breakwater in Liepāja. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-008; UZ-700; Admiralty C3396; NGA 12060.

Pape Lighthouse
Pape Light, Rucava, summer 2007
photo copyright Bronius Sriubas; used by permission

Liepāja South Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off, visible only on the range line. 30 m (98 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. The tower has a rectangular slatted daymark, painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a pier across the river from the historic lighthouse. Site status unknown. UZ-750; Admiralty C3397; NGA 12069.
Liepāja South Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off, visible only on the range line. 40 m (131 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. The tower has a rectangular slatted daymark, painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the waterfront 422 m (1/4 mi) east southeast of the front light. Site status unknown. UZ-751; Admiralty C3397.1; NGA 12069.1.
Liepāja Middle Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. The tower carries a large rectangular slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. A photo is available, the lighthouse is at the left edge of another photo, Ziedonis Safronovs has a sunset photo taken through the tower, and Google has a good satellite view. This range guides vessels through the middle entrance of Liepāja's breakwaters. Located offshore on the south side of the entrance to the Karostas Kanal, about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) north of the historic lighthouse. (The Karaostas Kanal is the modern inner harbor of Liepāja.) Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. UZ-720; Admiralty C3396.2; NGA 12064.
Karaostas Kanāla (Kara Osta) Range #3 Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off, visible only on the range line. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a street view and a satellite view. The front light of this outbound range is on a shorter skeletal tower. Located on the south side of the canal off Pulvera Street. Site and tower closed, but there should be a good view from the street. UZ-826; NGA 12115.1.
Karaostas Kanāla (Kara Osta) Range #2 Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red light, 1 s on, 1 s off, visible only on the range line. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. This is the tower on the left in a 2009 photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The front light of this inbound range is on a shorter skeletal tower. Located on the south side of the canal off Pulvera Street, about 800 m (1/2 mi) west of the #3 rear light. Site and tower closed, but there should be a good view from the street. UZ-836; NGA 12116.1.
Liepaja Light
Liepāja Light, Liepāja, January 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Alvals
Karaosta Kanāla (Kara Osta) Range #1 Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); green light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off, visible only on the range line. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a street view and a satellite view. The front light of this inbound range is on a shorter skeletal tower. Located on the north side of the canal off Turaidas Street. Site and tower closed, but there should be a good view from the street. UZ-816; NGA 12114.1.
* Liepāja Middle Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 30 m (98 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted red. The tower carries a large rectangular slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe, although the stripe is not seen in Vadik Belskiy's photo from the rear of the tower. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located in a residential area on the north side of the Karostas Kanal, about 1 km (1.6 mi) east northeast of the front light. Site and tower closed. UZ-721; Admiralty C3396.21; NGA 12068.

Pāvilosta Municipality Lighthouses
* Akmeņrags (Stone Cape) {Steinort} (4)
1921 (station established 1879). Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); two white flashes, separated by 2.5 s, every 7.5 s. 38 m (125 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted red. A photo is at right, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Kern's photo, a 2008 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. This station marks a prominent cape, where the trend of the Baltic coast changes from north toward the northeast. The original, temporary light was replaced by a 28 m (92 ft) wood tower in 1889. The present lighthouse replaced the 1911 stone tower, which was destroyed during World War I. Located on a cape about 35 km (22 mi) north of Liepāja. Site open, tower status unknown, but there are photos taken inside. ARLHS LAT-002; UZ-680; Admiralty C3442; NGA 12120.
* Pāvilosta Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower; the front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted black with a white vertical stripe. There is a small photo on p. 59 of the Latvian Light List, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This is the entrance range for the small port of Pāvilosta. The front light is on a similar but shorter tower. Located on the south side of the entrance at Pāvilosta. Site open, tower closed. UZ-661; Admiralty C3443.1; NGA 12128.
Akmenrags Light
Akmeņrags Light, Pāvilosta, November 2007
Wikimedia public domain photo by Apogs88

Ventspils Municipality and City Lighthouses
* Užava {Backofen} (3)
1925 (station established 1879). Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 2.5 s off, 1.5 s on, 4.5 s off. 19 m (62 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on an octagonal stone base and attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Buildings painted white. Ezra Nuakin's photo is at right, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Kern's photo, a 2008 photo is available, Huelse has posted a historic postcard view in which the tower is red with a single white band, Michel Forand has a 1937 postcard photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was heavily damaged during World War I and had to be largely rebuilt; a temporary light was used until this project was completed. Located on a headland about 24 km (15 mi) southwest of Ventspils. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-016; UZ-650; Admiralty C3448; NGA 12140.
* Ventspils {Windau} Loču Tornis (Pilot Tower)
1934. Inactive. 20 m (66 ft) white octagonal cylindrical tower with gallery but no lantern, attached to a small 1-story office building. The top of the tower appears to be an observation platform, and there is no evidence the tower ever had a lantern. The light was displayed at a focal plane of 13.5 m (44 ft), indicating that it was mounted on the outside of the tower somewhere below the gallery. S. Melkon has a fine 2007 photo, a 2008 photo is available, there's a closeup of this tower on the right of Kern's photo of the Ventspils Range Front Light, Huelse has an old postcard view showing the pilot tower amid dunes, Forand has a different postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. It is not known if the building is still used as a pilot house. Michel Forand has a historic postcard view of an earlier pilot tower. Located on the south side of the Venta River east of the foot of the south mole. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: unknown.
Ventspils Ziemeļu (Vkhodoy) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); red light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off, synchronized with the rear light. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with gallery. Trabas has Kern's photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This is one of half a dozen tall range towers guiding vessels into Ventspils. Located on the south side of the Venta River east of the Pilot Tower. Site status unknown. UZ-520; Admiralty C3450; NGA 12148.
Ventspils Ziemeļu (Vkhodoy) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); red light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off, synchronized with the front light. 35 m (115 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with gallery. Trabas has Kern's photo, and Google has a closeup street view and a satellite view. Located on Pētera Iera (street) 940 m (0.58 mi) southeast of the front light. Site status unknown. UZ-521; Admiralty C3450.1; NGA 12152.
Uzava Light
Užava Light, Ventspils, June 2004
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ezra Nuakin
* Ventspils {Windau} South Mole (2)
1970 (station established 1870). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two green flashes every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower is white; lantern and gallery painted green. Sergey Melkonov's photo is at right, Trabas has Kern's photo, a closeup photo of the present lighthouse is available, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse has a postcard view of the original lighthouse, which was probably lost during World War II. Ventspils is an important port at the mouth of the Venta River; the two curved moles protect the river entrance. Located at the end of the south mole; accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-033; UZ-597; Admiralty C3452; NGA 12160.
Ventspils {Windau} North Mole (2)
1970 (station established 1870). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two red flashes every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower is white; lantern and gallery painted red. Trabas has Kern's photo, Mikael Kratz has a view from the harbor entrance, Vyacheslav Korolev has a view from the south mole, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the north mole; the lack of closeup photos suggests this pier may not be open to the public. Site status unknown. ARLHS LAT-032; UZ-595; Admiralty C3451; NGA 12156.
Ventspils Rietumu (West) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red light, 4 s on, 2 s off, synchronized with the other two lights of the range. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower; the front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted black with a yellow vertical stripe. There is a small photo on p. 58 of the Latvian Light List, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This range guides vessels approaching Ventspils from the Baltic. Located in a petroleum tank farm just north of the harbor of Ventspils. Site and tower closed. UZ-540; Admiralty C3450.5; NGA 12145.
Ventspils South Mole Light
Ventspils South Mole Light, Ventspils, June 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Sergey Melkonov
Ventspils Rietumu (West) Range Middle
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); red light, 4 s on, 2 s off, synchronized with the other two lights of the range. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower. There is a small photo on p. 58 of the Latvian Light List, and Google has a street view and an indistinct satellite view. Located on the slope behind the petroleum tank farm, about 400 m (1/4 mi) west of the front light. Site status unknown. UZ-541; Admiralty C3450.51; NGA 12145.1.
Ventspils Rietumu (West) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); red light, 4 s on, 2 s off, synchronized with the other two lights of the range. 30 m (98 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower; the front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted black with a yellow vertical stripe. There is a small photo on p. 58 of the Latvian Light List, and Google has a street view and an indistinct satellite view. Located on a hilltop about 900 m (0.57 mi) west of the front light. Site and tower closed. UZ-542; Admiralty C3450.52; NGA 12145.2.

Irbe Strait (Irbes Šaurums) Lighthouses

Note: The Irbe Strait, the main passage connecting the Gulf of Rīga to the Baltic Sea, forms part of the border between Latvia and Estonia. The strait is 27 km (17 mi) wide at its narrowest point, but it is relatively shallow. The dredged channel for large ships is close to the Latvian shore, so it falls under Latvia's administration.
Ventspils Municipality Lighthouses
*** Oviši (Ovišrags, Cape Ovisi) {Lyser Ort}
1814. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); white light, 3 s on, 4.5 s off. 33 m (109 ft) round old-style stone tower with lantern and gallery. Entire structure painted white. Original 1-story wood keeper's house and a modern 2-story keeper's house. 1-story generator house now used as a museum; Fresnel lenses from this lighthouse, the Slītere lighthouse, and the Daugavgrīva lighthouse are displayed. A photo is at the top of this page, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Kern's photo, a good 2008 photo and a 2004 photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. This historic lighthouse, the oldest active light in Latvia, marks the southern entrance to the Irbe Strait from the Baltic. The German name Lyser Ort is derived from the Swedish word lysa meaning "to shine." Located about 30 km (20 mi) northeast of Ventspils. Site open, museum and tower open also, but the schdeule is not known. ARLHS LAT-011; UZ-475; Admiralty
Irbe (Irbe Strait)
1985. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 10 s. 37 m (125 ft) wave-swept round cylindrical concrete and steel tower with a large circular watch room and three galleries, surmounted by a helipad and mounted on a caisson. Watch room painted red, upper half of tower white with narrow red horizontal bands, lower part of tower black. This modern lighthouse was prefabricated by the GT Corporation, which has posted an excellent photo of the completed structure. Another closeup and a distant view are also available. Construction required five years. Although this Soviet lighthouse is now in Latvian territorial waters, it is maintained by Estonia under an agreement between the two countries. Located in the strait about 20 km (12 mi) north of Ovisi. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Site manager: Estonian Maritime Administration. ARLHS LAT-023; UZ-480; Admiralty C3474; NGA 12194.
** Miķeļbāka (Miķeļtornis) {Pissen} (4)
1957 (station established 1885). Active; focal plane 59 m (194 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 56 m (184 ft) round cylindrical concrete block tower with lantern and double gallery, rising from a 2-story octagonal pyramidal base. Lighthouse painted white; lantern roof and gallery rail painted red. Keeper's house occupied by a resident caretaker. A photo is at right, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Kern's photo, Aldis Putelis has a good 2003 closeup and a more distant view, the lighthouse appears on a Latvian postage stamp, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This is the tallest lighthouse in Latvia, or indeed in any of the three Baltic republics. The original lighthouse was patched up after being damaged in World War I, but it had to be demolished in 1932. Its replacement was destroyed during World War II and replaced in 1946 by a temporary wood tower. Located just off the coastal P124 highway about 12 km (7.5 mi) west of Lielirbe. Site open; it is reported that the caretaker will give tours of the tower. ARLHS LAT-010; UZ-470; Admiralty C3476; NGA 12196.

Miķeļbāka Light, Ventspils, May 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Alvals
Sīkragciems
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 3 s. 27 m (89 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. The top of the tower is partially enclosed by a slatted daymark, painted white. A photo by Bronius Sriubas is at right, there is another photo on p. 58 of the Latvian Light List, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located in Sīkrags, a village on the coast opposite Slītere. Site status unknown. ARLHS LAT-026; UZ-465; Admiralty C3477.3; NGA 12204.

Dundaga Municipality Lighthouses
**** Slītere
1849 (not lit until 1961). Inactive since 1999. 24 m (79 ft) round old-style stone tower with lantern and gallery, incorporating keeper's quarters. Entire structure painted red with white trim. A 3rd order (?) Fresnel lens from this lighthouse is on display at the Ovīši lighthouse museum (see above). Kathleen Bennett has a closeup photo, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, another good photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Very similar in design to Ovīši Light, both towers representing an old style Russian lighthouse plan. This tower, built originally as a daymark, is atop a high hill with a focal plane height of 82 m (269 ft). From the gallery one can sometimes see across the strait to the Sõrve lighthouse on the Estonian island of Saaremaa. The lighthouse is now incorporated in Slītere National Park and has been restored and open to the public since 2002. There is a museum in the tower with exhibits on Latvian lighthouses. Located about 10 km (6 mi) west southwest of Cape Kolka and 5.3 km (3.3 mi) from the coast. Site open; tower reported open daily except Mondays and Tuesdays. Site manager: Slītere National Park. ARLHS LAT-015; ex-Admiralty C3477.

Sīkragsciems Light, Ventspils, July 2010
photo copyright Bronius Sriubas; used by permission
Saunagciems (Saunraga)
Date unknown. Inactive since 1997. 21 m (69 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. The upper 2/3 of the tower is enclosed by a slatted daymark; the upper half of the daymark is red and the lower half is white. Dāvis Kļaviņš has a photo, another photo and a small photo are available, there is another photo on p. 58 of the Latvian Light List, and Google has a distant satellite view The tower is still maintained as a daybeacon. Located in Saunags, a village about 11 km (7 mi) west of Cape Kolka. Site status unknown. ARLHS LAT-014; UZ-460; ex-Admiralty C3477.5.
* Kolkasrags (2)
Date unknown (between the World Wars) (station established 1818). Inactive as a lighthouse for many years. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical masonry signal station building, probably painted white originally. Laima Gūtmane has a photo. Probably built sometime in the early 1900s, this building is listed as having a light in a 1945 French list. The building was heavily damaged during World War II but was rebuilt after the war by the Soviet military. It appears abandoned today. As mentioned in the following entry, two lighthouses were built on Kolkasrags (Cape Kolka) in 1818; these towers were still in service in 1879, according to Findlay's list, but they were discontinued soon thereafter. Michel Forand has a postcard view of one of these towers, showing severe damage from World War I; another postcard view shows one of the towers in use as a telegraph station early in the 20th century. It's possible that this tower was modified and survives as the lower portion of the Soviet station. Located near the point of Cape Kolka. Site open, tower closed.
Kolka {Domesnäs} (Domes Ness) (2)
1884 (station established 1875). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 21 m (69 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and double gallery, all painted red; lantern dome is black. Keeper's house and other light station buildings enclosed by an octagonal seawall. Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, a closeup and a distant view from the mainland are available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse guides ships around the dangerous Kolkasrags (Cape Kolka), at the eastern entrance to the Irbe Strait from the Gulf of Rīga. A pair of range lights were built on the point of the cape in 1818 to guide ships around the offshore shoals. Thse proved inadequate, so a lightship station was established in 1858. A temporary lighthouse was lit offshore in 1875, well before completion of the permanent tower. The seawall protecting the station was replaced in 1976-78. Latvian Wikipedia has a photo of foundation ruins, presumably the remains of the 1875 lighthouse. Located on a small artificial island 6 km (3.75 mi) northeast of the cape. Accessible only by boat; there must be distant views from the cape area. Site and tower closed. ARLHS LAT-006; UZ-410; Admiralty C3478; NGA 12212.

Gulf of Rīga Lighthouses

Roja Municipality Lighthouses
* [Melnsils (Mellsils)]
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) round cylindrical red brick tower. Wikimedia has a photo and describes the building as a water tower, but another source describes it as a former lighthouse. Since the Latvian word bāka is used for beacons of all kinds, it is likely that the tower was never lit but does serve as a traditional daybeacon. In any case, we need more information. Google has a distant satellite view of the tower. Located at Melnsils, a village about 10 km (6 mi) south of Cape Kolka. Site open, tower closed.
* Ģipka
1954. Active (?); focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white light, 2 s on, 4 s off. 30 m (98 ft) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower. The upper 12 m (39 ft) of the tower is enclosed by a large slatted daymark; the upper 2/3 of the daymark is painted red and the lower 1/3 white. Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Kern's photo, another good photo is available, J. Sedois has a third photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Located near the waterfront in Ģipka. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-021; UZ-400; Admiralty C3486; NGA 12216.
Roja (2)
Around 2000? Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); continuous light, white, red or green depending on direction. 19 m (62 ft) triangular cylindrical skeletal tower, painted red. A small equipment shelter stands beside the tower. There's a photo of the present tower at the bottom of p. 56 of the Latvian Light List, a distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the southeast side of the harbor entrance at Roja. Site status unknown. UZ-390; Admiralty C3489; NGA 12224.
* Roja Range Rear (2)
1930s(?). Inactive since around 1980(?). 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower, partially enclosed by a slatted daymark. Originally painted white, the tower is now red with rust. Bronius Sriubas rediscovered this abandoned tower in 2011 and contributed the photo at right; Google has a satellite view. Located on the south side of the harbor area. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-013; ex-Admiralty C3488.1.
* Roja Range Rear (3)
Around 1980(?). Inactive since around 2000(?). 24 m (79 ft) concrete block monument, carrying a stork's nest in Jaroslaw Lepka's 2008 photo. Google has a street view and a satellite view. The nature of the monument is not known. Located in central Roja, near the football stadium. Site open, tower closed. ex-Admiralty C3489.1.
Roja Range Rear Light
Roja Range Rear Light, Roja, June 2011
photo copyright Bronius Sriubas; used by permission
*** Mērsrags {Markgrafen}
1875 (reconstructed in 1922). Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 5 s. 19 m (62 ft) round cast iron tower, encased in concrete, with lantern and gallery, supported by eight broad buttresses. Lighthouse painted white with red trim. A photo is at right, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Kern's photo, Michel Forand has a 1923 postcard view, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This light guards a prominent cape about halfway between Cape Kolka and the city of Rīga. Prefabricated in France, the lighthouse was encased in concrete after being badly damaged during World War I. Huelse has a postcard view of the lighthouse before the reconstruction. Located about 6 km (4 mi) northeast of the town of Mērsrags. Site open; tower open for climbing but we have no information on the schedule. ARLHS LAT-009; UZ-375; Admiralty C3494; NGA 12228.
* Mērsrags Inner Range Front
Date unknown. Inactive since 2012. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower mounted on a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Tower painted red; the front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Google has a closeup street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the north side of the harbor at the west end. Site open, tower closed. UZ-365; Admiralty C3495; NGA 12229.
* Mērsrags Inner Range Rear
Date unknown. Inactive since 2012. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower mounted on concrete piers. Tower painted red; the front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Bing has a satellite view. Located a short distance west of the front light. Site open, tower closed. UZ-366; Admiralty C3495.1; NGA 12229.1.

Engurē Municipality Lighthouses
* Engurē
1954. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 19 m (62 ft) skeletal tower with a red and white daymark. Zalais Nestabilais has a photo, a 2010 photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the north side of Engurē. Site status unknown but probably open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-005; UZ-345; Admiralty C3501; NGA 12248.
Mērsrags Light
Mērsrags Light, Roja, April 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Alvals
* Ragaciems (2)
1960 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 30 m (98 ft) tower, comprised of a square tower topped by a skeletal mast. A red slatted daymark surrounds all sides of the upper portion of the square tower. Trabas has Kern's photo, Dmitry Zakharov has a photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Another photo shows the original light some distance southeast of the present light. Located on a broadly rounded bend of the coast on the southwest shore of the Gulf of Rīga 1.2 km (3/4 mi) north of Ragaciems. Site appears open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-025; UZ-335; Admiralty C3502; NGA 12252.

Jūrmala City Lighthouse
* Bulli (Buļļuciems, Lielupe)
1956. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 3.5 s off. 28 m (92 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with gallery. The upper 3/4 of the tower is covered by a slatted daymark; the upper half of the daymark is painted red and the lower half white. Ruslan Nekrasov has a photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located just off the beach at the end of 29th Street, about 13 km (8 mi) northwest of Rīga. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-019; UZ-330; Admiralty C3503; NGA 12256.

Rīga City Lighthouses
* Daugavgrīva (Bolderāja) {Dünamünde} (7?)
1957 (station established at least by 1721). Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 2.5 s. 35 m (115 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands; lantern painted black with a red roof. Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Ezra Nuakin has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Latvia's oldest light station is the landfall light for Rīga, the nation's capital and principal seaport. The station has a long and complex history. Lights were shown here from at least 1536, and a masonry tower was in regular service by 1721. A 30 m (98 ft) octagonal wood tower was built in 1819 and discontinued in 1854. A conical cast iron tower, installed in 1863, was destroyed in 1915 in World War I, and the concrete replacement built in 1921 was destroyed in 1944 in World War II. The 1863 Frenel lens was saved and is on display at the Ovīši lighthouse museum (see below). Located on the west side of the entrance to the Daugava River and Rīga harbor. Site open; Claußen was able to climb the tower but we have no information on when it might be open to the public. ARLHS LAT-004; UZ-075; Admiralty C3526; NGA 12272.
* [Daugava West Mole]
1998. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); green flash every 3 s. 7 m (24 ft) round cylindrical tower with a small gallery but no lantern, painted red. Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the west mole at the Daugava River entrance. Apparently accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-030; UZ-105; Admiralty C3528; NGA 12276.
* Daugavgrīva Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); red light, 2.5 s on, 2.5 s off, synchronized with the rear light. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical tower, painted red. The front of the tower is covered by a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located close to the Daugavgrīva lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. UZ-080; Admiralty C3530; NGA 12280.
* Daugavgrīva Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); red light, 2.5 s on, 2.5 s off, synchronized with the front light. 26.5 m (87 ft) square cylindrical tower, painted red. The front of the tower is covered by a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. Trabas has Kern's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the west bank of the Daugava 590 m (0.37 mi) southeast of the front light. Site open, tower closed. UZ-081; Admiralty C3530.1; NGA 12284.
* Mangaļsala {Magnusholm} Beacon (Daugava East Mole) (1)
1863. Inactive since 1998. 6 m (20 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A 2007 photo and a 2009 closeup are available, and Bing has a satellite view. This little lighthouse was formerly at the end of the east mole at the Daugava River entrance, opposite the Daugavgrīva lighthouse. The lighthouse has been relocated to Rīga, where it stands in Kronvalda Park near the Free Port. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Rīga. ex-Admiralty C3528.
Daugavgriva Light
Daugavgrīva Light, Rīga, June 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Jānis Vilniņš
Rīnūži Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); orange light, 3 s on, 2 s off, synchronized with the front light. 22 m (72 ft) square skeletal tower. The front of the tower carries a trapezoidal slatted daymark, painted red with a white vertical stripe. There's a photo on p. 55 of the Latvian light list, Google has a street view, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. The front light is on a much shorter skeletal tower. Located in the harbor district a short distance west of the previous light. Site status unknown. UZ-101; Admiralty C3532.1; NGA 12336.
* Baltā-Baznicas Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); yellow light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 18 m (59 ft) square stone church steeple; the light is shown through a square window. J. Sedols has a photo, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. This is a northbound (downstream) range guiding vessels leaving Rīga. Located on Atlantuas Iela at the intersection of Baltā-Baznicas Iela, in Mangaļi, on the east side of the Daugava. Site open, tower probably closed. ARLHS LAT-028; UZ-252; Admiralty C3547.2; NGA 12348.
* Mangaļu (Mangaļi) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off, synchronized with the rear light and visible only on the range line. 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower, painted red, carrying a large slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, another photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This range guides vessels leaving Rīga. Located on the waterfront at Mangaļi. Site open, tower closed. UZ-185; Admiralty C3540; NGA 12320.
* Mangaļu (Mangaļi) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23.5 m (77 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off, synchronized with the front light and visible only on the range line. 22 m (72 ft) square skeletal tower, painted red, carrying a large slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, another photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located 252 m (275 yd) northwest of the front light. Site open, tower closed. UZ-186; Admiralty C3540.1; NGA 12324.
* [Mangaļsala Beacon (Daugava East Mole) (2)]
1998 (station established 1863). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 3 s. 7 m (24 ft) round cylindrical tower with a small gallery but no lantern, painted red. Denis Khrutskiy has a photo, Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the east mole at the Daugava River entrance, opposite the Daugavgrīva lighthouse. Apparently accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-031; UZ-104; Admiralty C3529; NGA 12288.

Saulkrasti Municipality Lighthouse
Ladiņi (Lilaste)
Date unknown. Inactive. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. The upper half of the tower is partially enclosed by a slatted daymark painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Although the light has been removed, the tower is still listed as a daybeacon. Located on a ridge northeast of Lilaste, at the southeastern corner of the Gulf of Rīga. Site status unkno. ARLHS LAT-024; UZ-070; ex-Admiralty C3578.

Salacgrīva Municipality Lighthouses
Lāči
1954. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 4 s. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. Most of the tower is enclosed by a slatted daymark painted with red and white horizontal bands. A photo and a more distant view are available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on the coast south of the village of Liepupe. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-007; UZ-045; Admiralty C3583; NGA 12428.
* Ķurmrags
Around 1920? Inactive. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square pyramidal stone base. A June 2005 photo is available, and J. Sedols has a distant view. Now in the surf, the abandoned lighthouse is is likely to be destroyed by the sea. A November 2007 photo shows the tower leaning ominously, but Alexey Melsitov's August 2012 photo shows it still standing. The light was in service as late as the 1980s. Located at the village of Ķurmrags on the east coast of the Gulf of Rīga about 40 km (25 mi) south of Ainaži. ex-Admiralty C3584.
Salacgrīva Light
Salacgrīva Light, Salacgrīva, August 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Marcin Szala
* Vitrupe (Grīntāls) {Witterbeck}
Date unknown. Acive; focal plane 34 m (111 ft); red flash every 4 s. 21 m (69 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with gallery and a small lantern, painted red. The tower is enclosed by a slatted daymark, painted white with a broad black band at the top. A 2007 photo and a closeup are available, Trabas has Kern's photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a headland near Vitrupe, about 25 km (15 mi) south of Ainaži. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-022; UZ-040; Admiralty C3585; NGA 12436.
* Salacgrīva {Salismünd} (2)
1933 (station established 1925). Inactive since around 1970(?). 8.5 m (28 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. Marcin Szala's photo is above right, a 2011 photo is available, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse was probably replaced by the range lights. It was in service in 1967 but was discontinued before 1984. Located on the waterfront of Salacgrīva. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-034; ex-Admiralty C3586.
* Salacgrīva {Salismünd} Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower, painted red. The front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. Trabas has Kern's photo, Dāvis Kļaviņš has a 2010 photo, Google has a closeup street view, and the shadow of the tower is seen in Bing's satellite view. The front light is on a 10 m (33 ft) skeletal tower 200 m (660 ft) west southwest. Salacgrīva is a port at the mouth of the Salaca (Salis) River. Located near the waterftont of Salacgrīva. Site open, tower closed. UZ-011; Admiralty C3587.1; NGA 12444.
* [Ainaži Breakwater (lantern)]
1908. Inactive at least since 1986, when the lighthouse collapsed into the sea. The lantern was salvaged, and in 1991 it was restored and mounted on display at the entrance to the Museum of the Ainaži Naval School, about 100 m (110 yd) southwest of the present lighthouse (next entry). A 2009 photo is available, Wikimapia has the same photo, Google has a good street view and an indistinct satellite view. Site open, tower closed.
* Ainaži {Gainash, Hainasch} (2)
Date unknown (1930?) (station established 1920s). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 18 m (59 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with an orange vertical stripe. 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house collapsing into ruins. Ezra Nuakin's photo is at right, a 2009 photo is available, the Vietas guide has photos, Trabas has Kern's photo, and Google has a good street view and a satellite view. The light was originally the rear light of a range, but the front light has been discontinued. Located at the intersection of Barona and Nakotnes streets in Ainaži, a town on the east coast of the Gulf of Rīga close to the Estonian border, about 125 km (80 mi) north of Rīga. Site status unknown. ARLHS LAT-001; UZ-001; Admiralty C3590; NGA 12448.
Ainazi Light
Ainaži Light, Salacgrīva, July 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ezra Nuakin

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Būšnieki (?-1997), 10 km (6 mi) northeast of Ventspils. We've found no evidence that this lighthouse survives. ARLHS LAT-020; ex-Admiralty C3469.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Southwestern Estonia | South: Lithuania

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Posted April 25, 2005. Checked and revised February 12, 2014. Lighthouses: 54. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.