Lighthouses of Russia: Northern Sakhalin

Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands together form an oblast (province) of the Russian Federation. Sakhalin, located just off Russia's east coast, is the country's largest island, stretching 950 km (almost 600 mi) from north to south and separating the Sea of Japan to the southwest from the Sea of Okhotsk to the northeast.

Both Japan and Russia became interested in annexing these territories during the mid 1800s. In 1875, a treaty assigned Sakhalin to Russia and the Kurils to Japan, and within a few years Russia began building lighthouses in Sakhalin. In 1905, at the end of the Russo-Japanese War, Russia was obliged to cede the southern half of Sakhalin to Japan, the border being fixed at 50° north latitude. Russia took control of all of the island in 1945, near the end of World War II. Japan renounced its former claims to Sakhalin in the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco.

This page describes lighthouses in the northern half of the island, the region that has always been administered by Russia.

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

Special thanks to Sijas ten Wolde, Alexander Barkov, and Alexey Bambizo for the use of their photos on this page.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume M of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Sakhalin Lighthouses
Overview (in Russian) and selected photos by Igor Samarin of the Sakhalin Regional Museum in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
Lighthouses of the USSR - Far Eastern Seas
This Russian-language reference provides valuable historical information.
World of Lighthouses - Russia Far East
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.
Online List of Lights - Russia - Pacific Coast
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Russische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Postcard views of historic Russian lighthouses posted by Klaus Huelse.


Mys Marii Light, Sea of Okhotsk, July 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Alexander Barkov
used by permission

Central West Coast (Tartar Gulf) Lighthouses

Note: Sakhalin is separated from the mainland on the south by the Tartar Gulf, an arm of the Sea of Japan, and on the north by Sakhalin Bay, an arm of the Sea of Okhotsk. Sakhalin Bay and Tartar Gulf are joined at Lazarev by a narrow passage called the Nevel'skogo (Nevelskoy) Strait. These waterways are known collectively as the Tartar Strait.
Smirnykh District West Coast Lighthouse
Mys Korsakova (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 102 m (335 ft); white flash every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower; the upper 2/3 is enclosed by a slatted daymark painted white. A closeup photo and a distant view are available, and Google has a satellite view. Mys Korsakova is really a tombolo: a small island connected to the mainland of Sakhalin by a narrow isthmus. The lighthouse stands at latitude 50° 01.2' north, so it is only 2.2 km (1.4 mi) north of the border with Japan before World War II. Located on the highest point of this peninsula, about 45 km (28 mi) north of Boshnyakovo. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7706; NGA 0162.

Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky District Lighthouse
* Zhonkier (Mys Zhonkier) (2)
1897 (station established 1886). Active; focal plane 79 m (259 ft); one long white flash every 33 s. 18 m (59 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward end of a ruined 1-story stone keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; the lantern dome is a metallic green. 1st order Fresnel lens still in use. Artemiy Sakh's photo is at right, Artyom Tkachuk has a view from above, a panoramic view and a dramatic view from the sea are available, Alexey Andrushenko has a closeup photo showing a small reserve light next to the lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Sakhalin's first light station was established in 1860 at Mys Due, 6 km (3.5 mi) south of Mys Zhonkier. The first, temporary lighthouse had a focal plane of 88 m (290 ft). It was replaced in 1864 with a lighthouse having a focal plane of 114 m (374 ft). This proved to be much too high, causing the light to be moved in 1886 to Zhonkier, a cape named for a French naval officer, the Marquis de la Jonquière. The town has a photo of the original (1886) lighthouse. The lighthouse guided ships to the Alexandrovsky Station, now the town of Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky. Located about 100 km (60 mi) north of the 1905 line dividing Russian and Japanese territory, Alexandrovsk was the Soviet Union's main base in Sakhalin in the 1930s and during World War II. Sadly, the historic lighthouse is now gravely endangered by a failing foundation; photos show giant cracks in the building. Apparently this was caused by uncontrolled quarrying of gravel lower on the slope. The 125th anniversary of the light station was celebrated in July 2011. Located on a promontory about 3 km (2 mi) southwest of Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ASR-078; Admiralty M7700; NGA 15744.

Mys Zhonkier Light, Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky, June 2009
Panoramio photo copyright Artemiy Sakh; permission requested

Okha District (Northern Sakhalin) Lighthouses

Nevel'skoy Strait Lighthouses
Note: The Nevel'skoy Strait is a narrow passage connecting the Amur Bay with the Tartar Gulf to the south. It is named for Capt. Gennady Nevel'skoy, who sailed through the strait in 1849, proving to westerners that Sakhalin is an island. At its narrowest, the strait is only 7.3 km (4.5 mi) wide. Under Stalin the Soviet government planned a railroad tunnel under the strait and actually began construction. These plans were abandoned after Stalin's death in 1953, but recently there has been renewed interest in the project.
Mys Uangi Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 11 m (36 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. This southbound range is the southernmost of three ranges that guides vessels through the narrowest passage of the strait. Located on a promontory north of Druzhba, at the south end of the strait. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7686; NGA 15744.6.
Mys Uangi Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 21 m (69 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located 369 m (0.23 mi) south southeast of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7686.1; NGA 15744.61.
Pogibi Yuzhnyy (South Pogibi) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); red flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower; the front of the tower is painted painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. A closeup photo is available, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. This is a northbound range. Pogibi is a small settlement opposite Cape Lazarev in Khabarovsk; between the two towns is the narrowest passage of the strait, about 7.3 km (4.5 mi) in width. Located on a promontory in Pogibi. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7685.2; NGA 15744.53.
Pogibi Range Common Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; red flash every 3 s. 26 m (85 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. This tower carries the rear lights for both Pogibi ranges. Located 742 m (0.46 mi) northeast of the Pogibi Yuzhnyy front light and 1392 m (0.87 mi) southeast of the Pogibi Severnyy front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7685.1; NGA 15744.52.
Pogibi Severnyy (North Pogibi) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); red light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 11 m (36 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower; the front of the tower is painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. Sergey Lisov's photo is at right, Wikimapia has a distant photo (click on the center thumbnail), and Google has a satellite view. This southbound range shares the same rear light tower as the Pogibi Yuzhnyy Range. Located about 1.5 km (1 mi) northwest of the Pogibi Yuzhnyy Front Light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7685; NGA 15744.51.

Pogibi Severnyy Range Front Light, Pogibi, 2012
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Sergey Lysov

Amur Bay (Rybnovsk Area) Lighthouses
Note: The Amur Bay is an irregular basin about 120 km (75 mi) long and roughly 30 km (19 mi) wide, connecting Sakhalin Bay to the north with the Tartar Strait to the south; many geographers classify it as the northern part of the strait. The sound is relatively shallow, with many shoals, so it is not easy to navigate.
Valuyevskiy (Mys Rybnovsk) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); red flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) square concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. One of Alexander Barkov's photos is at right, he has a second photo and an older photo showing the poor condition of the lighthouse before it was restored, Samarin has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. It appears that the lighthouse was repaired in 2011. This is a range guiding northbound vessels entering the Sakhalin Gulf from the Amur Bay, the broad sound north of the Nevel'skogo Strait into which the Amur River empties. Located on the beach about 3 km (2 mi) south of Rybnovsk. Site probably open, tower closed. Admiralty M7680; NGA 15744.26.
Valuyevskiy (Mys Rybnovsk) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; continuous red light. 28 m (92 ft) square skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view of the tower. Located 928 m (0.58 mi) northeast of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7680.1; NGA 15744.27.
Vereshchaginskiy Range Front
1938. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red light, 2 s on, 3 s off. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. No photo available. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides southbound vessels leaving the Sakhalin Bay. The rear light is on a 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower 500 m (0.3 mi) southeast. Located on the beach about 3 km (2 mi) north of Rybnovsk. Site probably open, tower closed. Admiralty M7679.5; NGA 15744.2.
Vereshchaginskiy Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; red light, 2 s on, 3 s off. 30 m (98 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located 556 m (0.35 mi) southeast of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7679.51; NGA 15744.21.
Petumboppovskiy Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 3 s. 16 m (52 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with a black vertical stripe on the range line. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This is another southbound range. The rear light is on a 29 m (95 ft) skeletal tower 2 km (1.2 mi) southeast. Located about 8 km (5 mi) north of Rybnovsk. Site probably open, tower closed. Admiralty M7679.4; NGA 15584.45.
Valuyevskiy Range Front Light
Valuyevskiy Range Front Light, Rybnovsk, 2011
Panoramio photo copyright Alexander Barkov; used by permission
Petumboppovskiy Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; continuous white light. 29 m (95 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located 2222 m (1.38 mi) southeast of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7679.41; NGA 15584.46.

Baykal Bay Entrance Lighthouses
Note: Baykal Bay (Zaliv Baykal) is a lagoon about 20 km (13 mi) in diameter, connected to Sakhalin Bay by two narrow inlets.
Zaliv Baykal Second Leg Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 9 m (30 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. The range guides vessels into Baykal Bay, a lagoon near Okha in northern Sakhalin; this is an area where oil and natural gas deposits are being developed. Located on the east side of the entrance to the bay, about 10 km (6 mi) south of Mys Vkhodnoy. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7910.4.
Zaliv Baykal Second Leg Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); green light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 13 m (43 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the entrance to the bay, about 10 km (6 mi) south of Mys Vkhodnoy. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7910.41.
Zaliv Baykal Third Leg Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); red light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the coast about 650 m (0.4 mi) south of the First Leg Front Light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7910.3.
Zaliv Baykal First Leg Range Front
2002. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 28 m (92 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. Mikhail Pritkov has a very distant view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the northeast side of the entrance to the bay. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7909.99.
Zaliv Baykal First Leg Range Rear
2000 (?). Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 35 m (115 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with a black vertical stripe. Alexander Alyuskin has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. NGA lists this light as "Mys Moskalvo." Located 556 m (0.35 mi) east of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7910; NGA 15585.
Zaliv Baykal Third Leg Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); red light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. Approx. 28 m (92 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located about 1200 m (3/4 mi) northwest of the First Leg Rear lighthouse. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7910.31.

Sea of Okhotsk Lighthouses
Note: The northeastern tip of Sakhalin projects into the Sea of Okhotsk and ends with two capes, Cape Mary on the west and Cape Elizabeth on the east. The two capes are like "ears" at the head of a peninsula about 80 km (50 mi) long.
Mys Marii (Cape Mary) (2)
1961 (station established 1933). Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 6 s. 18 m (59 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a square stone base. A small drum-style Fresnel lens is in use. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. Alexander Barkov's photo is at the top of this page, he has a second photo showing a small keeper's house, and Google has a wintry satellite view. The lights on the two capes were built as part of plan launched in 1929 to strengthen navigation and defense in northern Sakhalin. The original light was on a 11.5 m (38 ft) pyramidal wood tower. Located at the point of the cape. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ASR-130; Admiralty M7679; NGA 15587.
Mys Yelizavety (Cape Elizabeth)
1935. Active; focal plane 73 m (240 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 12 m (39 ft) square tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story brick keeper's house. Alexander Barkov's photo is at right, he also has a distant view from the west, Vladimir Polyakov has a distant view from the sea, Vladimir Konovalenko has a distant view from the beach, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse marks the northernmost tip of Sakhalin. Located at the point of the cape. Site status unknown. ARLHS ASR-076; Admiralty M7902; NGA 15588.
Mys Yelizavety Light
Mys Yelizavety Light, Sea of Okhotsk, July 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Alexander Barkov; used by permission
Pil'tun (2)
1964 (station established 1949). Active; focal plane about 38 m (125 ft); white light occulting once every 7.5 s. 35 m (115 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Fresnel lens in use. This is a staffed station, with four wood keeper's houses, two in use by keepers and one available for visiting scientists. One of Alexander Barkov's photos is at right, he has a more distant view, Lightphotos.net has Oksana Savenko's 2012 photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a 23.5 m (77 ft) wood skeletal tower. Jake Levenson visited in August 2009 and has an extreme closeup and a photo taken inside the lantern room. According to Watts, the lighthouse was damaged by an earthquake sometime before 2002. The photos show that it is rusted and in need of major maintenance. Located on the west side of the Pil'tun lagoon about 1.4 km (7/8 mi) from the Sea of Okhotsk on the remote northeastern coast of Sakhalin about 185 km (115 mi) south of Cape Elizabeth. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower restricted. Admiralty M7902.5; NGA 0195.

East Coast (Sea of Okhotsk) Lighthouses

Nogliki District Lighthouses
Zaliv Chayvo (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1967). Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 6 s. 24 m (79 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern painted red or black. No photo available, but a photo taken from the gallery is available, and Google has a good satellite view. Located on the north side of the entrance to a lagoon (Chayvo Bay) about 65 km (40 mi) southwest of the Piltun lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7920; NGA 0195.5.
Nyyvo
1968. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view of the station. Located on the north side of a lagoon entrance northeast of Nogliki on the central east coast of Sakhalin. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7930.
Nabil' (4)
1982 (station established 1949). Inactive since 2004. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. A photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. The original lighthouse here was unique: a 33.5 m (110 ft) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery. It was lost to beach erosion in 1969. The light was moved atop a station building and then atop a second station building in 1973. All these structures were eventually lost to the sea. Located on the south side of the entrance at the north end of the Nabilskiy lagoon about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Nogliki. Site status unknown. ex-Admiralty M7886.
Pil'tun Light
Pil'tun Light, Sea of Okhotsk, 2011
Panoramio photo copyright Alexander Barkov
used by permission
Mys Ratmanova (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower painted with red and white horizontal bands. NGA describes the light as a skeletal tower, but it appears solid in Bing's satellite view. Located on a sharp promontory in a very remote area of Sakhalin's east coast. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7890; NGA 0194.

Smirnykh District East Coast Lighthouse
Mys Nizkiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 8 s. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Upper half of the lighthouse painted white, lower half originally painted red. A good photo is available; it shows the lower half of the tower faded to a dull tan. There's also a view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. NGA misspells the name as "Nizkig." The lighthouse stands at latitude 50° 01.0' north, so it is only 1.8 km (1.1 mi) north of the border with Japan before World War II. Located on a promontory about 160 km (100 mi) north northwest of Mys Terpeniya. Site status unknown. Admiralty M7885.1; NGA 0193.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: South: Southern Sakhalin | West: Northern Khabarovsk

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Posted May 8, 2006. Checked and revised April 23, 2017. Lighthouses: 27. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.