Lighthouses of Romania

Romania has roughly 250 km (150 mi) of coastline on the northwestern side of the Black Sea. The southern half of the coastline has the country's major port, Constanţa, with its satellite ports Mangalia and Midia. The northern half is occupied by the large delta of the Danube River.

Romania became independent in 1878 after several centuries of control by the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. The old lighthouse of Sulina, at the mouth of the Danube, is the only lighthouse surviving from the Ottoman period. In recent years Romania has built three very tall, modern lighthouses, at Sulina, Constanţa, and Mangalia.

The Romanian word for a lighthouse is far or farul (plural faruri). Capul is a cape and gura is the mouth of a river. Aids to navigation are maintained by the Romanian Navy's Maritime Hydrographic Directorate (Directia Hidrografica Maritima).

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume N of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Romania
Photos by various photographers posted by Alex Trabas.
Lighthouses in Romania
Photos available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Romania
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.
Europäische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Farul Genovez
1886 Constanţa Light (Farul Genovez), July 2007
Wikimedia public domain photo by Kdanv

Tulcea County Lighthouses

Danube Delta Lighthouses
Note: The Danube Delta is Europe's second largest delta (after the Volga Delta). There are three main distributaries, or branches. The Chilia Branch, on the north, carries more than half the flow of the river and forms the boundary between Romania and Ukraine. The Sulina Branch, in the center, is the shortest and the only branch improved for navigation by large ships. The Sfântul Gheorghe (St. George) Branch is on the southern edge of the delta.
Sulina North Pier
1887. Inactive. 14 m (46 ft) tapered round masonry tower with lantern and two galleries, mounted on a round stone base. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. A photo is at right, Claudiu Presecan has a photo, a second photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Endangered: this abandoned lighthouse is in poor condition. Located on what remains of the old north pier at Sulina. Accessible only by boat. Site open; nothing prevents visitors from climbing the tower, although this is clearly dangerous. ARLHS ROM-018.
Sulina (2)
1983 (station established 1856). Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); three white flashes every 16.2 s. 48 m (157 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and two enclosed observation and control levels, rising from a triangular 2-story administration building. The tower is unpainted light gray concrete; lantern painted red. Iulian Bilauschi has a good photo and a closeup of the top of the tower, and Google has a satellite view. This large tower serves as the entrance control station for ships arriving at the mouth of the Danube. It is built on a triangular artificial island attached near the end of the south breakwater at the river entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS ROM-008; Admiralty N5034; NGA 17744.
Sulina South Pier
1887. Inactive. 12 m (39 ft) hexagonal cast iron skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Originally the tower was painted white and the lantern dome black, although little paint remains. Petru Schiopu has a good photo, a sunrise photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Endangered: this abandoned lighthouse is in very poor condition. Located on the old south pier at Sulina, now about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) west of the actual mouth of the river. Site open, although accessibility is unknown; tower closed. ARLHS ROM-020.
Sulina North Pier Light
Sunset at Sulina North Pier Light, Sulina, August 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Neagrigore
*** Sulina (1)
1856 (Ottoman). Inactive at least since 1983. 16 m (59 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white. A 1st order Fresnel lens is mounted in the lantern. A photo is at right, Wikimedia has additional photos, Bianca Naumovici has a good closeup, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. The Sulina Branch of the Danube is the only mouth navigable by modern ships. Sedimentation has moved the entrance to the river considerably to the east, leaving this historic lighthouse high and dry. Located on the south bank of the river in the town of Sulina. Site open, tower open daily for climbing. ARLHS ROM-019.
* Sfântu Gheorghe (Sfintu Gheorghe, Gura Sf. Gheorghe) (2)
1967 (station established by the Ottoman Empire in 1865). Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); two white flashes every 7.2 s. 50 m (164 ft) triangular concrete tower with lantern. Most of the tower is white concrete; the segment on the the seaward side and the lantern are covered with gray glass. Another good photo and a closeup of the lantern are available, but Google's fuzzy satellite view doesn't show the lighthouse. The Sfântu Georghe (St. George) Branch is the southernmost of the main mouths of the Danube River. The original lighthouse stood on the other side of the river until it was burned by arsonists in 1980; the Fresnel lens from that lighthouse is preserved at the Naval Museum (Muzeul Marinei Române) in Constanţa. Located on the north side of the river in the village of Sfântu Gheorghe. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-007; Admiralty N5032; NGA 17740.
Portiţei (Portitei, Gura Portiţei)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 9 s. 22 m (72 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with a large round lantern. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands, lantern painted white. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The light station is built on a barrier beach that encloses the large Lake Razelm (or Razim) lagoon on the south side of the Danube entrances. It was built on the south side of an inlet, but satellite photos indicate that the inlet has closed. Located about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Constanţa and a similar distance southwest of Sfântu Gheorghe. Site status unknown. ARLHS ROM-012; Admiralty N5031; NGA 17736

Sulina Light
1856 Farul Sulina, September 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Mmiszka

Constanţa County Lighthouses

Midia Lighthouses
Midia Main (Capul Midia)
Date unknown (1958?). Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) skeletal tower with lantern. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands, lantern painted white. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Capul (Cape) Midia is a headland at the extreme southern end of the Danube Delta, about 20 km (13 mi) north of Constanţa. An artificial harbor has been constructed south of the cape as a satellite to the Port of Constanţa. Located on the headland of the cape, a short distance north of the harbor. Site status unknown. ARLHS ROM-001; Admiralty N5030; NGA 17732.
Midia Entrance (East Breakwater)
Date unknown (1958?). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 4 s. 18 m (59 ft) concrete tower with a modern, all-glass lantern and gallery. Sergiu Pruteanu has a distant photo (click on the photo for a better view), and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the east breakwater. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5030.2; NGA 17733.
Midia East Breakwater Spur
Date unknown. Active; green light, pattern unknown. 2-story concrete building with a lantern on the roof. Sergiu Pruteanu's photo is at right (this is the lighthouse in the background), the lighthouse is on the left in Nelu Soanca's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of a short spur off the east breakwater at Midia, opposite the west breakwater light. Site and tower closed.
Midia West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; red light, pattern unknown. 2-story concrete building with a lantern on the roof. The lighthouse is in the foreground of Sergiu Pruteanu's photo is at right, another photo is available, the lighthouse is on the right in Nelu Soanca's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the west breakwater at Midia. Site and tower closed.
Midia Breakwater Lights
Midia West Breakwater (foreground) and East Breakwater Spur Lights, September 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Sergiu Pruteanu; permission requested

Constanţa Lighthouses
* #Tomis Northeast Breakwater (1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flash every 3 s. This was an 8.5 m (28 ft) round iron lantern and gallery supported by five iron posts and painted green. A 2006 photo of the original lighthouse and a late 2009 photo of the new light are available, and Google has an aerial view. The Tomis small craft harbor adjoins downtown Constanţa on the north side of the Casino area. Located at the end of the northeast breakwater of Tomis harbor. Accessible by walking the breakwater. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-022; Admiralty N5028; NGA 17728.
* #Tomis Southeast Breakwater (1)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); red flash every 3 s. This was an 8.5 m (28 ft) round iron lantern and gallery supported by five iron posts and painted red. It has been replaced by a light on a red post. A 2006 photo of the original lighthouse and a 2011 photo of the new light are available, and Google has an aerial view. Located at the end of the southeast breakwater of Tomis harbor. Accessible by walking the breakwater. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-021; Admiralty N5028.2; NGA 17720.
* Constanţa (1) (Farul Genovez)
1886. Inactive since 1913. 8 m (26 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse is unpainted; lantern painted black or very dark blue. A photo appears at the top of this page, Jackson Lee has a photo, a good closeup is available, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has an aerial view. According to the Romanian Wikipedia, this tower was built by Genoese traders around 1300 and was restored around 1860. "Restored" may mean "rebuilt," but in any case this historic lighthouse was restored again in 1948 and has become a fairly well known tourist attraction. It stands near the Casino on a headland projecting into the Black Sea north of the harbor but close to Constanţa's downtown business district. A historic postcard view posted by Klaus Huelse shows the lighthouse and Casino; the east pier light is to the left of the casino and the south breakwater light to the right. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-015.
Constanţa East (Outer) Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 3 s off. 18 m (59 ft) square hourglass-shaped unpainted masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Alex Trabas has a closeup photo by Douglas Cameron (a reduced version is at right), a 2008 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was originally built at the end of the outer breakwater of Constanţa, but the breakwater has since been extended no less than 4 km (2.5 mi) southward, leaving the lighthouse at an elbow about 500 m (1600 ft) south of the East Breakwater Spur Light. Site status unknown. ARLHS ROM-004; Admiralty N5026; NGA 17700.
Constanta East Breakwater Light
Constanţa East Breakwater Light, Constanţa
photo copyright Douglas Cameron; used by permission
Constanţa East Breakwater Spur
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) 2-story stone building with a lantern mounted at the east end. the building is unpainted; lantern painted green. A photo is available, and Google has an aerial view. This light and the South Breakwater Light frame the entrance to the inner (north) harbor of Constanţa. Located at the end of a westward spur off the East (outer) Breakwater. Site status unknown. ARLHS ROM-010; Admiralty N5026.2; NGA 17704.
* Constanţa (2) (East Pier, King Carol I)
1913 (station established 1886). Inactive since 1961. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, mounted at one end of a rectangular stone building. Lighthouse unpainted; lantern dome painted dark blue. A photo is at right, a 2009 closeup is available, another closeup shows the historic marker at the lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view. The lighthouse was built to honor King Carol I, who died in 1914. It is known locally simply as the farul vechi (the old lighthouse). Located at the end of the old East Pier, which is now the root of the city's outer breakwater. Accessible by walking or driving the pier, about 1.5 km (1 mi) south from the Casino. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-017.
Constanţa South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) 2-story stone building with a lantern mounted at the east end. The building is unpainted; lantern painted red. A photo is available, and Google has an aerial view. This light and the East Breakwater Spur Light frame the entrance to the inner (north) harbor of Constanţa. Located at the end of a pier on the west (mainland) side of the harbor. Site status unknown. ARLHS ROM-016; Admiralty N5026.4; NGA 17708.
* Constanţa (3)
1961 (station established 1886). Active; focal plane 87 m (285 ft); two white flashes, separated by 7 s, every 29.8 s. 58 m (190 ft) triangular concrete tower with lantern room. Most of the tower is white; the upper section of the seaward side and the lantern are painted a very dark blue, almost black. Wikipedia has a photo, a fine closeup photo and a 2009 photo are available, V. Soldan has a good view of the lighthouse and its surroundings, and Google has an aerial view. This striking modern lighthouse is located at the center of a broad plaza just west of the harbor area. The tower and its surrounding fountains are floodlit at night. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-002; Admiralty N5025; NGA 17692.
Constanţa Farol Carol I
Farul Carol I, Constanţa, October 2007
Panoramio photo copyright joker.joker; used by permission

Tuzla and Mangalia Lighthouses
Note: Founded by the Greeks as Callatis in the 4th century BCE, Mangalia is the oldest city in Romania. Under the Ottoman Turks it was an important port known as Pangalia. Today it is a naval base, fishing port, and the center of Romania's beach resorts.
* Tuzla (Capul Tuzla)
1901. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft); two white flashes every 9.7 s; also a continuous red light is shown at 57 m (187 ft). 44 m (144 ft) square pyramidal cast iron skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and enclosed watch room. Lighthouse painted black with one white horizontal band. Nautophone fog signal (one 5 s blast every 30 s). Alexandru Nanu has a 2009 photo, a good closeup is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has an aerial view. This historic lighthouse was prefabricated in France by Barbier, Bernard, et Turenne. Possibly endangered: the lighthouse is reported to be in danger due to erosion of the bluff on which it stands, although it seems fairly secure in a 2008 aerial photo. There are plans to move it, but no funds are available for the project. Located on Capul (Cape) Tuzla, about 4 km (2.5 mi) southeast of Eforie Sud. Site status unknown, but there appears to be road access to the light station. ARLHS ROM-009; Admiralty N5022; NGA 17688.
* Mangalia
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 72 m (236 ft); two white flashes every 5.5 s. 42 m (138 ft) slender square cylindrical white concrete tower. Radek Literski has contributed a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a hill 4 km (2.5 mi) west northwest of the harbor of Mangalia. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-005; Admiralty N5018; NGA 17664.
* Mangalia Northeast Breakwater (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 2.5 s off. 21 m (69 ft) skeletal tower with gallery and an open lantern structure; access to the gallery is by a spiral stairway inside the tower. A photo is available, the light is at left in another photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the extended northeast breakwater. Site status unknown, but the light can certainly be viewed from nearby. Admiralty N5019; NGA 17668.
* Mangalia Northeast Breakwater Spur
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 3 s. 13 m (43 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story masonry pier house. The lighthouse appears to be unpainted gray masonry. A photo is available, another photo shows this light and the next one, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of a short spur off the northeast breakwater at Mangalia. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-013; Admiralty N5019.5; NGA 17672.
* Mangalia Northeast Breakwater (1)
1952 (?). Inactive. 7 m (23 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome painted dark blue. A photo by Américo Alves is at right, Andrea Ferrer has a good photo, Leonard Craciun has a closeup, Huelse has a postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse became obsolete when the northeast breakwater was extended and the southeast breakwater constructed, considerably expanding the harbor. Located at the end of the original northeast breakwater at Mangalia. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ROM-006.
Mangalia Southeast Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 3 s. 13 m (43 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story masonry pier house. The lighthouse appears to be unpainted gray masonry. Radek Literski has contributed a photo, another photo is available (note the lighthouse to the left of the taller harbor control tower), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater pier at Mangalia, a broad pier with a road. Part of the naval base, this pier is closed to the public. Site and tower closed. ARLHS ROM-014; Admiralty N5020; NGA 17684.
Mangalia Northeast Breakwater Light
Mangalia Northeast Breakwater Light, Mangalia, May 2011
Flickr photo copyright Américo Alves; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Odessa Area | South: Bulgaria

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Posted January 18, 2007. Checked and revised October 2, 2013. Lighthouses: 24. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.