Lighthouses of Syria
Although it is not often regarded as a maritime nation,
Syria has about 150 km (90 mi) of coastline facing west on the Mediterranean
Sea between Turkey and Lebanon. Lattakia, Baniyas, and Tartus are the
major ports. After four centuries as part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire,
Syria came under French control after the end of World War I. After
a lengthy process of negotiation and conflict, the country became independent
following World War II.
Syria was united with Egypt to form the United
Arab Republic in 1958, but it seceded from that union in 1961 and has
been known since then as the Syrian Arab Republic. In 2011, street protests against the Assad government escalated into violence, and as of the spring of 2016 the country remained in civil war with no end in sight. The coastal region of the country has remained generally under the control of the central government and has not suffered as much fighting and destruction as other regions.
Lighthouses in Syria are operated by the General
Directorate of Syrian Ports, an agency of the Ministry of Transport.
The Arabic word for a lighthouse is mnarh or manara (منارة). Ra's is the word for a cape or headland, and jazirat is an island.
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 - Syria
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
- General Directorate of Syrian Ports - Photo Album
- The lighthouse photos on this page appear in this slideshow.
- World of Lighthouses - Syria
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Ra's ibn Hani Light, Lattakia
General Directorate of Syrian Ports photo
- Tartus Governate Lighthouses
- * Arwad (Jazirat Arwad, Île
Rouad, Ruad Island) (2?)
- Date unknown (station established 1864). Active (?); focal plane
20 m (66 ft); white flash every 5 s. 4 m (13 ft) square skeletal tower
mounted atop a 4-story building, part of a fortress. Tower painted
black. A photo shows
a small skeletal tower atop the fort, but it does not appear to have
an active light. Michel Forand has a 1922 photo showing the original appearance of the light, and Google has a satellite view of the fort. Arwad (originally
known as Arado) is a roughly circular island 3 km (2 mi) southeast
of the waterfront of Tartus. The fortress was originally built in the
12th century by crusaders, the Knights Templar, who held it until 1303.
Subsequently it was rebuilt by the Ottomans. Passenger ferry service
to the island is available. Site apparently open, tower closed. ARLHS
SYR-003; Admiralty N5924; NGA 21044.
- Tartus West Breakwater
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; green flash every 4 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, painted with green and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the west (really the south) breakwater of Tartus. Site status unknown. Admiralty N5923.7; NGA 21039.
- Baniyas (Banias)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 98 m (321 ft); three flashes every
17 s, white or red depending in direction. 11 m (36 ft) white tower
with gallery, attached to a 2-story white station
building. Hicham Hasan has a 2012 photo, the Directorate of Ports has the older distant photo at right,
Trabas also has a distant photo,
and Google has a satellite
view of the station. Located on
a hill behind a headland about 5 km (3 mi) south southwest of Baniyas.
Site status unknown. ARLHS SYR-002; Admiralty N5923.5; NGA 21032.
Latakia Governate Lighthouses
- * Latakia (Lattakia) Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two red flashes every
5 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery and a
round metal lantern. Lantern roof painted red. The tower also carries
a large slatted daymark, coloring unknown. Amer Abu-Rabi's photo shows
this light on the left and the "Latakia Beacon" tower on
the right. Google has an indistinct satellite
view. According to Findlay's 1879 light list, there was a lighthouse in Latakia on the "north side of an old fort." The present light is located near the waterfront in the midst of the commercial
harbor of Latakia. Site may be closed, but the lighthouse is close
to a major through street. Tower closed. Admiralty N5921.51;
Baniyas Light, Baniyas
Syrian Directorate of Ports photo
- * Ra's ibn-Hani (3?)
- Date unknown (station established 1864). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft);
white flash every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with
double gallery, attached to a 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire
lighthouse painted a light buff color. A photo is at the top of this page, and Google has a satellite
view. The Ministry of Tourism formerly had a page
with three photos of Ra's ibn-Hani, the resort town about 1200 m (3/4 mi)
east of the point of the cape. Two of these photos showed what might be an older
lighthouse. The photos are undated, and if they do show an older light we
do not know if it survives. The first light (1864) was described as a white
stone tower. Located on the point of Ra's ibn-Hani, about 12 km (7.5 mi) north
of Lattakia. Site status unknown, but the lack of photos of the cape suggests
that the area is closed. ARLHS SYR-001; Admiralty N5920; NGA 20996.
- Ra's al-Fasuri
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); three quick white flashes
every 5 s. White tower with black bands. No photo available, but Bing's satellite
view probably shows the light. Ra's al-Fasuri is a blunt
headland about 25 km (15 mi) north of Lattakia; much of the headland has been removed by a large quarrying operation. Site status unknown. ARLHS
SYR-005; Admiralty N5919.4; NGA 20992.
- Ra's al-Basit (Ras al-Baset)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 75 m (246 ft); white flash every 4 s.
12 m (39 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery. 1-story keeper's house with a square tower at one corner. A 2010 photo is available, and Google has a satellite
view. Ra's al-Basit is a sharp, mountainous
promontory about 15 km (9 mi) southwest of the Turkish border. The south
side of the cape shelters a popular beach resort. Located
at the tip of the cape. Site status unknown. ARLHS SYR-004; Admiralty N5919;
Information available on lost lighthouses:
- Lattakia (1864-after 1904). The original Lattakia lighthouse (described in 1904 as a stone tower on an old castle) was on the southern tip of the peninsula on which the city is built; a view from the sea and Bing's satellite view confirm that nothing remains of this lighthouse.
Notable faux lighthouses:
- Lattakia Beacon.
This tall concrete tower is described by several photographers as a "lighthouse"
or "beacon," but it does not appear to carry a light. More likely
it is a harbor control tower. It is a short distance north of the Lattakia
Range Rear Light. Another photo
is available, and Google has a good satellite
Adjoining pages: North: Southern Turkey | South: Lebanon
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Posted May 21, 2007. Checked and revised May 16, 2016.
Lighthouses: 7. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.