Lighthouses of Russia: Eastern White Sea

The northwestern corner of Russia lies on the Barents Sea, an arm of the Arctic Ocean. The broad, eastward-pointing Kola Peninsula (Kolskiy Poluostrov) separates the Barents Sea from the nearly-enclosed White Sea, which extends southward more than 500 km (300 mi). Arkhangel'sk, located at the southeasternmost point of the White Sea, became Russia's chief port under Ivan the Terrible in the mid 1500s, and there has been a lively trade between Western Europe and Arkhangel'sk through these northern waters for almost 500 years.

It may come as a surprise to lighthouse fans to learn that there are many lighthouses along these Arctic waterways, including more than a few nineteenth century towers built under the tsars. These lighthouses are surely among the most poorly known in the world. Under the Soviets, almost none of them were accessible to Westerners, and even today many areas in the Russian North are restricted. But cruise ships are beginning to visit these waters, so conditions for visiting the lighthouses may be improving.

This lists includes lighthouses of the the eastern shore of the White Sea, part of the vast Arkhangel'sk Oblast. Special thanks to Michel Forand for sharing his research on the lighthouses of this area and providing data from recent Admiralty light lists. If you have any photos of lighthouses in this area, or spot any such photos on the Internet, please let me know.

Russian lighthouses are owned and operated by the Russian Navy, although some of them have civilian keepers. The Russian word for a lighthouse is mayak (маяк); mys is a cape and ostrov is an island.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Russian light list (RU) numbers are from Russian Navy Publication 2105, as reported by the Admiralty. Admiralty numbers are from volume L of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 115. The Russian light list, Огни и знаки (Lights and Signs), is not available online.

General Sources
Lighthouse photos
This Ukrainian site is a rich source of photos for Russian and Ukrainian lighthouses.
Reconstruction of Beacons in Russia
This page of before-and-after photos was posted by EDM, a Russian engineering company that has completed reconstruction and restoration of many historic lighthouses in the Russian North.
World of Lighthouses - Arctic Coast of Russia
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.
Russische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Mudyugskiy Light
Mud'yugskiy Light, Arkhangel'sk, August 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Alex Ivv; permission requested
Mud'yugskiy Area (Arkhangel'sk Approach) Lighthouses
Note: Russia's ancient northern seaport of Arkhangel'sk is built at the foot of the delta of the Dvina River. The numerous lighthouses of the delta are described on the Arkhangel'sk page.
Ostrov Lebedinskiy (Lebedin)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) hexagonal cylindrical concrete tower, painted with black and white vertical stripes. A view from the sea is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a marshy point marking the entrance to the Korabel'nyy Branch of the Northern Dvina River, which leads to Arkhangel'sk. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. RU-3720; Admiralty L6978; NGA 16088.
Mud'yugskiy Bashen Range Rear (1?)
Date unknown (station established 1875). Inactive. Approx. 21 m (69 ft) square pyramidal wood tower with lantern. The lighthouse is unpainted; lantern painted red. Anatoliy Popov has a closeup photo, a view from the sea, and the photo at right, Ted Sarah has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located near the southern tip of Mud'yugskiy Island, about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of the Mud'yugskiy lighthouse. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-002.
Mud'yugskiy Bashen Range Rear (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1875). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); continuous red or white light, depending on direction. Approx. 28 m (92 ft) square skeletal tower. The lighthouse carries a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. Anatoliy Popov has the photo at right, and Bing has a satellite view. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouse. Site status unknown. RU-3621; Admiralty L6972.1; NGA 16058.
Mud'yugskiy Turning Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower carrying a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. The front light is on a similar tower 8 m (26 ft) tall. A photo of both lights is available, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located about 3 km (2 mi) south of the Mud'yugskiy lighthouse (next entry). Site status unknown. RU-3686; Admiralty L6973.1; NGA 16052.
Mud'yugskiy
1838. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); two white flashes every 9.7 s. 40 m (131 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. Fresnel lens in use. Fog horn (8 blasts every 40 s). 1-story wood keeper's house. Recently restored, this historic lighthouse is now painted bright yellow with white trim and a small red lantern, as seen in the 2009 photo at the top of this page, in a second photo, and in a view from the sea. An older photo is available, and Google has a good satellite view. This is the traditional landfall light for Arkhangel'sk and the oldest lighthouse of the Russian North. Located on an island just off the main (eastern) entrance to the Dvina delta. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-146; RU-3610; Admiralty L6970; NGA 16044.

Mugyugskiy Bashen Front Light
Mud'yugskiy Bashen Rear Lights, Arkhangel'sk, July 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Anatoliy Popov; used by permission


Northern Primorsky District Lighthouses
Mys Kuyskiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); white flash every 6 s. 22 m (72 ft) skeletal tower carrying a red slatted daymark. No photo of the lighthouse available, but there's a view from the gallery. The tower is hard to see in Google's satellite view. Located high atop a cape about 25 km (15 mi) north of Mud'yugskiy Island. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-250; RU-3595; Admiralty L7020; NGA 16132.
Mys Kerets
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); two white flashes every 7.5 s. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower. The front of the tower is covered by a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. A closeup photo is available, and Gregory Matveyev has a very distant view from the sea, but Google's distant satellite view has no detail of this cape. Located on a cape about 30 km (19 mi) north northwest of Mys Kuyskiy. Site status unknown. RU-3585; Admiralty L7024; NGA 16136.
Zimnegorskiy (1?)
1878. Active (?); focal plane 126 m (414 ft); two white flashes every 16 s. 19 m (62 ft) square pyramidal wood tower with lantern. Lighthouse painted with black and white vertical stripes; lantern painted green. A photo and a historic photo are available, but Google's fuzzy satellite view has no detail in this area. This is a rare tsarist lighthouse. However, the view from the sea at right and another distant view show a square skeletal tower that may be a replacement for the historic lighthouse. In any case, this is a historic weather station and coast rescue station. The station stands high on a promontory at the northern entrance to Dvina Bay. Located about 120 km (75 mi) northwest of Arkhangel'sk. Probably accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-075; RU-3580; Admiralty L7026; NGA 16140.
[Mys Veprevskiy]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 11 m (36 ft) round post with a small gallery and lantern. Post painted yellow, lantern red. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a headland at Veprevskiy, about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of Zimnegorskiy. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-285; RU-3560; Admiralty L7030; NGA 16144.
Zimnegorskiy Light
Zimnegorskiy Light Station
Russian Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management photo

Mezensky District Lighthouses
Intsy
1898. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); continuous white light. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the front of a 1-story keeper's house. A photo by I. Anufriev is at right, a recent photo is available, also another photo and a third photo, and Google has a good satellite view. In the photos, the building appears to have a red brick veneer, but the tower may have been raised in height with a concrete extension. The Russian page says that the lighthouse is a copy of the Mys Chesmenskiy Light (see Southern White Sea), but that lighthouse has an octagonal tower. Located on a promonory just north of Intsy, about 80 km (50 mi) northeast of the Zimnegorskiy lighthouse. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-036; RU-3540; Admiralty L7038; NGA 16152.
Ruch'i (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower; three sides of the tower are covered by a daymark that is supposed to be painted red with a white vertical stripe, although the red is not seen in the available photo. Google's satellite view has no detail in the area. NGA describes this as a "skeletal tower atop a church tower." Located at the south side of the river entrance in Ruch'i, about 28 km (18 mi) east of Intsy. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-271; RU-3530; Admiralty L7042; NGA 16156.
Megra
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 3 s. 13 m (43 ft) skeletal tower, painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on bluffs north of the entrance to the village of Megra. Site status unknown. RU3520; Admiralty L7048; NGA 16160.
Intsy Light
Intsy Light, Intsy, May 2011
Panoramio photo copyright I. Anufriev; permission requested
Yuzhnyy Mayda (Oleniy Nos)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); white flash every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) skeletal tower, painted white or carrying a white slatted daymark. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on bluffs about 10 km (6 mi) southwest of the village of Mayda. Site status unknown. RU3515; Admiralty L7052; NGA 16164.
Mys Voronovski (Mys Voronov)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white light, 4.5 s on, 10.5 s off. 6 m (20 ft) short skeletal tower mounted at the peak of the roof of a 1-story wood keeper's house. NGA describes the structure as yellow, but a photo shows the house unpainted and ramshackle. Google has only a very fuzzy satellite view of this cape. Located on a promontory at the east entrance to the narrow section of the White Sea, east of the Kola Peninsula. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-287; RU-3490; Admiralty L7068; NGA 16168.
#Morzhovskiy (Ostrov Morzhovets) (3)
1927 (station established 1842). Inactive and apparently demolished. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal wood tower with lantern, similar to the older Mud'yugskiy lighthouse (see above). The lighthouse was unpainted; lantern painted red. Lightphotos.net has a photo, but Polar Post has an aerial photo that does not show the old lighthouse.
Morzhovskiy (Ostrov Morzhovets) (4)
Date unknown (station established 1842). Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); two white flashes every 8.6 s. 30 m (98 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. A photo is at right, an excellent closeup photo is available, and Lightphotos.net has a closeup and another photo, but Google has only a very distant satellite view of the island. Huelse has a historic postcard view of an octagonal brick lighthouse built in 1892. Located on the southwest side of Morzhovets Island, about 17 km (11 mi) north of Koyda. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-051; RU-3350; Admiralty L7062; NGA 16176.
Abramovskiy
Date unknown (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story utility building. Endangered: a closeup photo, a 2008 photo and a small photo (third thumbnail on the first row) all show the lighthouse with a severe lean and supported by guy wires. Google has a very distant satellite view of the area. Located on a promontory about 19 km (12 mi) east of Koyda. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-232; RU-3295; Admiralty L7074; NGA 16188.
Nerpinskiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) square skeletal tower. The upper portion of the tower appears to be enclosed by a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe on each face. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on Mys Nerpinskiy, the cape on the west side of the entrance to the Mezenskaya Gulf. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-260; RU-3280; Admiralty L7078; NGA 16196.
Maslyanyy
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white flash every 3 s. 19 m (62 ft) square skeletal tower supposedly carrying a daymark painted with black and white bands. Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse appears to be abandoned. Located on Mys Maslyanyy, the cape on the west side of the entrance to the Mazen River estuary. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-255; RU-3260; Admiralty L7084; NGA 16200.
Ostrov Morzhovets Light
Ostrov Morzhovets Lighthouse, White Sea Throat
unattributed Polar Post photo

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Nenetsia | South: Arkhangel'sk Area | Northwest: Kola Peninsula

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Posted December 7, 2005. Checked and revised December 16, 2014. Lighthouses: 18. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.