Lighthouses of Russia: Lake Ladoga

Lake Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe, occupies a vast oval roughly 200 km (130 mi) by 130 km (80 mi) a short distance northeast of St. Petersburg.

Prior to World War I the northwestern half of the lake was in the Grand Duchy of Finland, a part of the Russian Empire. In 1917 Finland declared its independence from Russia, and the northwestern half of the lake was then in Finland. As one of the results of World War II the Soviet Union took control of all of the lake, organizing the Finnish border region as the Karelian Soviet Republic within the USSR. In 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, this formerly Finnish area became the Republic of Karelia, a member state of the Russian Federation. At present the northern and eastern shores of the lake are in the Republic of Karelia, while the southern and western shores are part of Leningrad Oblast (province).

The lake receives water from Lake Onega through the Svir River and drains through the Neva River, which reaches the Gulf of Finland at St. Petersburg. The route of the White Sea-Baltic Sea Canal crosses the southern end of Lake Ladoga from the Svir River to the Neva River.

In the Soviet Union, all lighthouses were closed to foreign visitors. Since the breakup of the Soviet empire, conditions have become much more free, and the lighthouses have become much better known. However, better information on accessibility is needed. Photos and visitor reports would be welcome.

Aids to navigation on the lake are presumably maintained by the River Transport division of the Russian Maritime Board. Since aids to navigation on these inland waterways are not listed on international light lists, we have little information on which lighthouses are active or, if they are active, on their light patterns.

The local language in much of this area is Karelian, a language closely related to Finnish. The Finnish and Karelian word for a lighthouse is majakka, similar to the Russian word mayak (маяк).

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights.

General Sources
Lighthouses on Lake Ladoga
This Russian-language list was posted by Infoflot, a company that runs river tours.
World of Lighthouses - Russian Inland Waterways
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in Russia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.


Osinovetskiy Light, Vsevolozhsky District, August 2007
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Andrew Efimovsky

Leningrad Oblast Lighthouses

Priozersky District (West Shore) Lighthouses
Shuchiy
Date unknown. Active(?); focal plane 16 m (52 ft). 14 m (46 ft) square tower painted white with a red vertical stripe. Lev Kaidalov has a distant view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a promontory about 5 km (3 mi) north of Priozersk. Site status unknown.
* Vuohensalo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); flashing white or red light, depending on direction. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with brown (formerly red?) bands at the top and base. A photo is at right, Ivan Bryzhakhin has a photo, Konstantin Pavlov has a 2014 photo, Alex Nosen also has a photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater at Vuohensalo, about 13 km (8 mi) southeast of Priozersk. Probably accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed.
Ostrov Konevets (Kononsaari, Konevitsa)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft). Approx. 13 m (43 ft) square skeletal tower with a round gallery, painted white. Three sides of the tower carry a white slatted daymark. A closeup photo and a second photo are available, Andrey Pavlovskiy has a street view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Konevets is an island, roughly 6.5 km (4 mi) long and 2 km (1.25 mi) wide, located 6.5 km (4 mi) east of Vladimirovkha. The island is the site of a famous Orthodox monastery founded in 1393. Located on a sand spit at the southwestern corner of the island, opposite Vladimirovkha. Accessible only by boat. Site open, and there's no obstacle to climbing the tower.
* Mys Vladimirskiy (Sortanlahti)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 7 m (23 ft). 6 m (20 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Two sides of the lower portion of the lighthouse carry a white daymark panels. Konstantin Antonov has a photo, Alexander Karbainov has a photo, a 2012 photo and a view from the lake are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Mys Vladimirskiy is the tip of a narrow peninsula sheltering the harbor of Vladimirovkha, on the northwest shore of the lake. Located at the end of a breakwater extending from the tip of the cape; accessible by walking the breakwater. There's also a good view from ferries to Ostrov Konevets. Site open, and there's no obstacle to climbing the tower.
Saunasaari (Mys Daleniy, Dalekaya Bay)
Date unknown (around 1920?). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); long-flashing white light. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower. The upper 2/3 of the tower is surrounded by a slatted daymark. Oleg Kiselev has a photo, a night photo of the lighthouse in action is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater at Saunasaari, on the southwest shore of the lake about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of Vernitsa. Accessible by walking the breakwater. Site open, tower closed.

Vuohensalo Light, Vuohensalo, June 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by metatron1

Vsevolozhsky District (Southwest Shore) Lighthouse
* Osinovetskiy
1905. Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 70 m (230 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Most of the paint had weathered off the lighthouse at the time of one photo, but it was repainted before Andrew Efimovsky's 2007 photo at the top of this page. Lightphotos.net has a good photo, Andrei Antipin has a closeup 2014 photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. A twin of the Storozhenskiy lighthouse, this soaring tower is only slightly shorter. It is a well known and popular tourist attraction. The light marks the west side of the entrance to the southernmost bay of the lake, leading to the Neva entrance. Located on a headland near the southwestern corner of the lake near Kokorevo, about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of St. Petersburg. Site probably open, tower closed. Site manager: unknown. ARLHS ERU-147.

Kirovsky District (Slisselburgskaya Bay) Lighthouses
Bugrovskiy (1)
1931. The lighthouse is in ruins, blown up during World War II. Lightphotos.net has Stas Elizarov's photo, and a closeup and another photo (1/3 the way down the page) are available. After the war the light was moved temporarily to the top of a pole (seen in the photos) that was fastened to the ruins of the tower.
Bugrovskiy (3)
Date unknown (station established 1931). Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); flashing white, red or green light depending on direction. 35 m (115 ft) square skeletal tower. The front of the tower carries a long slatted daymark painted with red and white horizontal bands. Several good photos are available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. This lighthouse carries a directional light guiding vessels approaching the Neva River; it may have been the rear light of a range originally. Located on a headland about 12 km (7.5 mi) east of the Neva entrance. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-145.

Volkhovsky District (South Shore) Lighthouses
Ostrov Karedzhi
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft). 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. The top half of the tower is covered by a vertically slatted daymark painted red with a white horizontal band. The daymark was in poor condition until it was restored around 2009. A portfolio of photos and a view from the lake are available, and the shadow of the tower appears in a Google satellite view. The island of Karedzhi is at the end of a long shoal and sits in the entrance to the southernmost bay of the lake, leading to the Neva entrance. As a result, it is important for vessels following the White Sea-Baltic Sea waterway to navigate around this light. Located at the west end of the island, about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of the Neva entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-186.
* Ligovskiy
Date unknown. Active(?); focal plane 30 m (98 ft). 28 m (92 ft) tapered square skeletal tower. Cyril Bakhmetyev has a 2015 photo and a more distant view, and there is a photo taken from the top of the lighthouse, but the light is not seen in Google's very distant satellite view of the area. The lighthouse stands next to the New Ladoga Canal, a waterway for small craft following the south shore of the lake. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-190.
Ostrov Sukho (Suho Island, Dry, Vironsaari) (2)
1891 (station established 1825). Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white light, flashing in groups of two. 24 m (29 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. Tower painted with red and white horizontal bands. The keeper's house is in ruins. Clearly endangered. Igor Barmin's photo at right shows the lighthouse severely weatherbeaten. In Igor Zaritsky's 2008 photo the lighthouse also appears in poor condition, but a 2005 photo shows the lighthouse in action. A wintry photo is also available, and Bing has a satellite view. The light was built on an artificial island to mark a dangerous shoal in the southeastern corner of the lake. According to one source, the first lighthouse was ordered by Tsar Peter I after his ship ran aground on the shoal. The lighthouse was heavily damaged in an unsuccessful attack by German and Finnish marines on 21 October 1942. Located about 35 km (22 mi) north northwest of Novaya Ladoga. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Site manager: unknown. ARLHS ERU-169.

Ostrov Sukho Light, March 2011
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Igor Barmin
** Storozhenskiy (Storozhno)
1907. Active; focal plane 76 m (249 ft); flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 71 m (233 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Fresnel lens in use. 1-story brick keeper's house. Sergey Gruzdev's photo is at right, Wikimedia has Eugene Adaev's photo, Pasha Zhdanok has a photo, Lightphotos.net has an excellent photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. A 2003 photo (no longer online) showed the lighthouse much in need of repainting, but apparently there was a restoration in 2007. For a time in that year the lighthouse was entirely white, as seen in an August photo; perhaps this was a primer coat applied before the red and white daymark was restored. A portfolio of photos is also available. This remarkable tower is the fourth tallest stone lighthouse in the world and the tallest traditional lighthouse in Russia. (The Lesnoy Mole Range Rear Light in St. Petersburg, a modern concrete tower, is 2 meters taller.) Located on a headland on the eastern side of the lake at the village of Storozhno. Site open, tower open by arrangement with the keeper. ARLHS ERU-175.
Svirskiy
1908. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); flashing white light. 35 m (115 ft) round brick tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse is red brick painted with white horizontal bands. 1-story brick keeper's house. Lightphotos.net has an excellent photo, several additional photos are available (near the bottom of the page), Ilya Puronen has a photo, Anatoly Bukovsky has a view from the lake, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on the south shore of the lake about 5 km (3 mi) west of the Svir entrance. There does not appear to be a good road access to this location. Site open, tower open by arrangement with the keeper. ARLHS ERU-176.
Storozhenskiy Light
Storozhenskiy Light, Storozhno, 2010
Panoramio photo copyright Sergey Gruzdev
used by permission

Republic of Karelia Lighthouses

Olonetsky District (East Shore) Lighthouses
* Tabanovasskiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft). 35 m (115 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted white. The tower also carries a rectangular horizontally slatted daymark painted white. Wikimapia has photos, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on the southeast shore of the lake, about 25 km (15 mi) north of the Svir River entrance. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-177.
* Pogrankondushskiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft). 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. The upper half of the tower is covered by a vertically slatted daymark. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on a hilltop about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Ust'e Viditsiy on the northeast shore of the lake. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-198.

Pitkyarantsky District (Northeast Shore) Lighthouse
Heinäluoto (Ostrov Kheynyaluoto) (2)
1878 (Axel Hampus Dalström) (station established 1845). Inactive (listed with focal plane 26 m (85 ft), flashing white light). 22 m (72 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted with horizontal red and white bands. A visitor in 2008 found the lighthouse abandoned and posted several photos (about halfway down the page) taken inside and outside the tower. A view from the lake and a sunset view are available, a Finnish web site has historical notes on the lighthouse, and Google has a good satellite view. The lighthouse was reported active as recently as 1999. Located on a small island off the southern tip of the much larger island of Mantsinsaari, in the northeastern corner of the lake. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower open. ARLHS ERU-035.

Sortavala City and Valaam (North Shore) Lighthouses
Ostrov Vostochnyy Sosnovyy (East Pine Island)
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 7.5 m (25 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the northwestern point of an island about 15 km (9 mi) east of Valaam. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower open.
* Nikol'skiy (Valamo, Valaam) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 9 m (30 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A closeup is available, Alexey Shatalin has a photo, Lightphotos.net has Alexandr Melnikov's photo and Igor Kolokolov's aerial photo, there's another photo (at the bottom of the page), and Google has a distant satellite view. Another photo shows the range daybeacon behind the lighthouse. Valaam, an island near the northern end of the lake, is famous for its historic Orthodox churches and monasteries. The light is adjacent to one of them, Nikol'skiy Skete. (A photo of another lighthouse near Valaam is also available.) Located on a small island on the north side of Valaam. Site open, tower closed.
Ostrov Rzhanoy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flashes in groups of two. 10 m (33 ft) skeletal tower surrounded by a round daymark. Entire lighthouse painted red. The light is not seen in Google's fuzzy satellite view. Located on an islet off the west coast of Valaam, marking the westernmost point of the Valaam archipelago. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
Ostrov Vuoratsu
Date unknown. Active. Approx. 5 m (17 ft) square skeletal tower with a round gallery, painted white. Three sides of the tower carry a white slatted daymark. No photo available. Located on an island at the extreme northern end of the lake. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower open.
Nikol'skiy Light
Nikol'skiy Light (left) and Cathedral, Valaam, March 2002
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Mike Fedorov
Oyvoinen
Date unknown. Inactive but maintained as a daybeacon. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) robust round cylindrical tower, painted white. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the eastern end of a small island in the Honkasalonselka strait, a passage leading from the north end of Lake Ladoga to the city of Sortavala. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.
Tulolansaari
Date unknown. Inactive but maintained as a daybeacon. Approx. 6 m (20 ft) robust round cylindrical tower, painted with black and white vertical stripes. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a headland on the east side of the Honkasalonselka strait, marking the northern entrance to the strait. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.

Lakhdenpokhsky District (Northwest Shore) Lighthouse
Hanhipaasi (Ostrov Khankhipasi)
1879 (Axel Hampus Dalström). Active(?); focal plane 30 m (98 ft); flashing white light. 24 m (79 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse is painted in a red and white checkered pattern so that one side of the tower appears red above and white below, and on the opposite side the colors are reversed. Lantern and gallery painted red. A distant photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has Igor Kolokolov's aerial photo, a good 2007 photo is available, also a distant view and a small photo (about 3/4 the way down the page), and Google has a satellite view. Lightphotos.net has a historic photo taken in 1891. Located on a small island about 12 km (7.5 mi) southwest of Valaam. Accessible only by boat. Site status and site manager unknown. ARLHS ERU-034.
Ostrov Yukansari (Kelpäniemi)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft). 4 m (13 ft) lantern, painted white, mounted on a concrete pad. Stanislav Tesovsky has a closeup photo, Wikimapia has a photo (click on the thumbnail at upper left), and Google has a satellite view. This light marks the entrance to the fjord leading to Lakhdenpokhya, at the northwestern corner of the lake. Located on the southern tip of Yukansari island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-210.
Rahmansaari (Ostrov Rakhmansaari)
Date unknown (station established 1889). Inactive. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. A photo and a second photo are available, but trees hide the tower in Google's satellite view. The lighthouse is clearly abandoned. Located on the southern tip of an island off the northwestern shore of the lake about 20 km (13 mi) northeast of the Kurkiniemi lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
Hahnipaasi Light
Hahnipaasi Light, Lakhdenpokhsky District
Wikimapia Creative Commons photo
by gary60
Ostrov Sitti
Date unknown. Active(?); focal plane anout 12 m (39 ft). Approx. 11 m (36 ft) post attached to a square equipment shelter. Andrew Nikandrov has a view from the sea, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a reef about 5 km (3 mi) southeast of the Rahmansaari lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
Mys Kurkiniemi
1912(?) (station established 1889). Inactive. Approx. 7 m (23 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with octagonal lantern and round gallery. Lighthouse painted white, although most of the paint seems to worn off. A closeup photo is available, Lightphotos.net has a photo, another photo and a view from the sea are available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a promontory marking the north side of the entrance to a fjord leading to Kurkijoki (Kurkiyeki), a town at the northwestern corner of the lake. Apparently accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
Verkkosaari (Ostrov Verkkosaari)
Date unknown. Probably inactive but listed with focal plane 24 m (79 ft); red flash every 3 s. 8 m (26 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower. All sides of the tower are covered by a slatted daymark, painted white with a black vertical stripe on each face. Google has a distant satellite view. Verkkosaari is an island off the northwest coast of the lake, about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of Priozersk. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.

Lake Ilmen Lighthouse

Note: Lake Ilmen is a large lake in Novgorod Oblast. The lake drains northward into the south end of Lake Ladoga via the Volkhov River. The river is dammed at the Voklhov Hydroelectric Station in the town of Volkhov, and a lock is provided that allows barge traffic between the two lakes.
Zheleznyy
Date unknown. Approx. 45 m (148 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted black. Google has a satellite view. The navigational purpose of this lighthouse is not clear. It is located just west of the mouth of the Lovat River on the south shore of the lake. Site status unknown.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • New Syas Channel South Entrance and North Entrance (19th century), Novaya Ladoga. In the late 19th century, the New Ladoga Canal was dug paralleling the south shore of Lake Ladoga. These towers mark the entrance to this waterway on the east bank of the Volkhov River. Google has a satellite view of this entrance. Although these towers are usually described as lighthouses, they appear to be primarily ornamental and it is not clear that they ever carried lights. There is a similar beacon at the canal entrance from the Svir River, and probably there are others.

Adjoining pages: North: Lake Onega | South: St. Petersburg Area | West: Vyborg Area

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Posted May 22, 2005. Checked and revised June 24, 2017. Lighthouses: 30. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.