Lighthouses of Ukraine: Sea of Azov

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the northwestern coast of the Black Sea became part of the independent republic of Ukraine. Except for a brief period of independence during the Russian Revolution (1917-20), Ukraine had been part of Russian or Soviet empires since 1654. However, the coastline of the Black Sea was mostly under the control of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire until it was taken by Russia during a series of wars in the second half of the 1700s.

The Black Sea's northern coast is in several sections. In the west is the Bight of Odessa, named for Ukraine's largest port. In the center is the diamond shaped peninsula of Crimea. To the east is the Sea of Azov, connected to the rest of the Black Sea by the very narrow Kerch Strait at the eastern end of Crimea. The Sea of Azov occupies a shallow elliptical basin about 225 km from east to west and 140 km from north to south (140 by 90 miles). The Gulf of Taganrog extends from the northeastern corner of the sea and forms the lower estuary of the River Don. The northwestern half of the sea lies in Ukraine and the southeastern half lies in Russia. The Ukrainian coast features four long sand spits projecting to the south.

In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, leaving the Ukrainian coast in two sections: the Bight of Odessa in the west and the northwestern side of the Sea of Azov in the east. The annexation of Crimea has not been accepted by Ukraine or recognized internationally. Important note: The Lighthouse Directory takes no position on any international dispute; our task is to describe lighthouses, not comment on politics. Our descriptions are of the actual situation, whatever it may be.

Lighthouses in Ukraine are maintained by Gosgidrografiya, the hydrography and navigation service of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The Ukrainian word for a lighthouse is mayak (маяк), identical to the Russian word. As in Russia, the provinces of the country are called oblasts.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. UA numbers are the Ukrainian light list numbers as reported by Ukrainian Lighthouses on the Air. Admiralty numbers are from volume N of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113. The Ukrainian light list, Вогні і знаки Чорного та Азовського морів (Lights and Signs of the Black and Azov Seas), is not available online.

General Sources
Gosgidrografiya - Lighthouses
Photos and historical information on the Gosgidrografiya web site. There is also a page of unlabeled photos of Ukrainian lighthouses.
Ukrainian Lighthouses on the Air (ULA)
This web site by Ukrainian amateur radio operators has valuable information about the lights and many photos. The ULA lighthouse list is available here.
Lighthouses in Ukraine
The ARLHS Ukraine listing; photos contributed by Ukrainian amateur radio operators are available for many of the lighthouses.
Lighthouses in Ukraine
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Ukraine
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Russische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Lighthouses of Ukraine
Historic postcard images posted by Michel Forand.

Berdyansk Verkhniy Light
Berdyansk Verkhniy Light, Berdyansk, October 2010
Panoramio photo copyright Valentin Osadchenko
used by permission

Donetsk Oblast (Mariupol' Area) Lighthouses
Azovstal Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); continuous green light visible only on the range line. 22 m (72 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a white slatted daymark with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Port Azovstal, located about 5 km (3 mi) east of Mariupol's traditional waterfront, serves the giant Azovstal steel works, the largest steel plant in Ukraine and one of the largest in the former Soviet Union. Located on the east side of the mouth of the Kalmius River. Site and tower closed. ARLHS UKR-085; UA-4720; Admiralty N5510; NGA 18756.
Azovstal Range Middle
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); continuous green light visible only on the range line. 37 m (121 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a white slatted daymark with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located beside the main railroad line in the middle of the steel plant. Site and tower closed. ARLHS UKR-086; UA-4721; Admiralty N5510.1; NGA 18760.
Azovstal Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 66 m (217 ft); continuous green light visible only on the range line. 34 m (112 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a white slatted daymark with a black vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located beside the highway entrance on the east side of the steel plant. Site and tower closed. ARLHS UKR-087; UA-4722; Admiralty N5510.2; NGA 18764.
Mariupol' East Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); red light, 1 s on, 1 s off, visible only on the range line. 19 m (62 ft) square skeletal tower, painted black. The tower is on the left in a view of the harbor administration building, but it is not clear in Google's satellite view. Located at the foot of a pier about 1 km (0.6 mi) northeast of the West Entrance Range Front Light. Site and tower closed. ARLHS UKR-089; UA-4665; Admiralty N5484; NGA 18724.
Mariupol' East Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); continuous red light. 13 m (43 ft) square tower on a white "dwelling," according to NGA. No photo available. The light may be centered in this Google satellite view. The location of this light is about 200 m southwest of the West Entrance Range Middle lighthouse. Site status unknown. ARLHS UKR-090; UA-4666; Admiralty N5484.1; NGA 18728.
Port Mariupol' (Old Gate) North Mole
Date unknown (station established 1891). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); green flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) hexagonal tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story equipment house. Entire lighthouse painted green. A 2006 photo and a second photo are available, and the lighthouse is seen rather poorly in a Bing satellite view. Huelse has a postcard view of one of the original lights, but we don't know which mole it was on. Mariupol' is a major port just inside the entrance to Taganrogsky Bay, an estuary at the northeast corner of the Sea of Azov that forms the mouth of the Don River. Port Mariupol' is an industrial harbor on the south side of the city. The narrow entrance between the two moles is called the Old Gate. Located at the northern end of the detached South Breakwater. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5490; NGA 18720.
Port Mariupol' (Old Gate) South Mole
Date unknown (station established 1891). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); red flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) hexagonal tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story equipment house. Entire lighthouse painted red. A photo is at right, a closeup photo and another photo are available (first photo in the fifth row), also a fourth photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the northern end of the detached South Breakwater. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5492; NGA 18716.
Old Gate North Mole Light
Old Gate South Mole Light, Port Mariupol', April 2009
Panoramio photo copyright -=MNA=-; permission requested
Mariupol' West Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); two continuous green lights, one above the other, visible only on the range line; for general navigation there is also a white light, 1 s on, 1 s off, at a focal plane of 19 m (62 ft). Approx. 24 m (79 ft) square skeletal tower, painted black. The tower also carries a large slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. Vadim Tolbatov has a photo showing the lower half of the tower, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a building materials quay, not far from the Old Gate mole lights. Site and tower closed. ARLHS UKR-024; UA-4530; Admiralty N5478; NGA 18732.
* Mariupol' West Entrance Range Middle
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); a continuous red light is shown on the range line, but for general navigation a red light with one brighter flash and one occultation every 4.5 s is shown. 23.5 m (77 ft) square cylindrical brick tower with double, rising from the front of a 2-story brick building. Lighthouse painted white with a black vertical stripe. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located a short distance north of the Port Mariupol' waterfront. Site open, tower closed. UA-4531; Admiralty N5478.1; NGA 18736.
Mariupol' West Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 86 m (282 ft); two continuous red lights, one above the other, visible only on the range line. 21 m (69 ft) triangular pyramidal skeletal tower, painted black. ARLHS has the photo by US6IQ also on the ULA web site. Located about 1 km (0.6 mi) north of the middle light. Site status unknown. ARLHS UKR-091; UA-4532; Admiralty E5478.2; NGA 18740.
* Belosaray (Belosarayskiy Kosa)
1836. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white light,1.5 s on, 1.5 s off, 1.5 s on, 4.5 s off. 19 m (62 ft) octagonal stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward side of a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white. Andrew Butko's photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has a 2013 photo, Arkady Dremov also has a photo, Forand has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse, the oldest on the Sea of Azov, was built at the end of the easternmost of the four major sand spits on the north side of the sea. Since 1836, however, the spit has lengthened westward about 2.5 km (1.5 mi). Like all of the Azov Sea lighthouses, it was heavily damaged during World War II and had to be repaired extensively in 1955. Located about 28 km (17.5 mi) southwest of Mariupol'. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS UKR-002; UA-4300; Admiralty E5472; NGA 18680.
Belosaray Light
Belosaray Light, Mariupol', September 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Andrew Butko

Zaporizhia Oblast (Berdyansk Area) Lighthouses
Berdyansk Nizhniy (Lower Berdyansk) (2)
1956 (station established 1838). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white light, 4.5 s on, 3 s off. Approx. 22 m (72 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story masonry keeper's house. It appears that the light is now displayed from the gallery rail. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Olya Usova's photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has a 2012 photo, Ivan Antipoff has a 2008 photo, another 2008 photo is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. The original light, described as a five-story building, was probably somewhat shorter. Heavily damaged in World War II, it was first patched up and then replaced in 1956. The lantern appears older; it may have come from the earlier lighthouse. Located at the end of a long, hook-shaped spit about 10 km (6 mi) south of Berdyansk. Accessible only by boat and perhaps by 4WD. Site status unknown. ARLHS UKR-003; UA-4280; Admiralty N5454; NGA 18640.
* Berdyansk Verkhniy (Upper Berdyansk) (1)
1883. Inactive. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower rising from the front of a 1-story brick keeper's house. Tower painted white; the house is unpainted red brick. A photo (evidently taken from the top of the newer lighthouse) is available, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse was repaired after being heavily damaged in World War II. We don't know the present use of the building. Located about 100 m (110 yd) northeast of the active lighthouse. Site open, tower closed.
* Berdyansk Verkhniy (Upper Berdyansk) (2)
1977 (station established 1883). Active; focal plane 72 m (236 ft); three red flashes every 9.4 s. 33 m (108 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Valentin Osadchenko's photo is at the top of this page, Wikimedia has several good photos, and Bing has a satellite view. Berdyansk is a substantial port on the central north coast of the Sea of Azov, due north of the Kerch Strait. Located on a bluff about 400 m (1/4 mi) north of the beach and about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) northwest of the port area of Berdyansk. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS UKR-004; UA-4187; Admiralty N5458; NGA 18648.
* Novokonstantinovskiy (Camp Myaak)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 6 s. 22 m (72 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with gallery, mounted at one end of a 3-story dormitory building. Tower painted red. John Samples has a photo, and amateur radio operator UR6QR has a page with photos, but the tower is not seen clearly in Google's satellite view. At the time of Samples's photo, this former Soviet facility was in use as a Christian summer camp operated by an American charity. Its current status is not known. Located on the coast at Novokonstantinovka, about 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Melitopol. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS UKR-094; UA-4170; Admiralty N5448; NGA 18628.
Berdyansk Nizhniy Light
Berdyansk Nizhniy Light, Berdyansk, July 2009
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Olya Usovaツ

Kherson Oblast (Geniches'k Area) Lighthouses
Biryuchiy (Ostrov Biryuchiy)
1882. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); two long (1.5 s) white flashes every 7.5 s. 25 m (82 ft) octagonal masonry tower, painted white. Alexander Nikishin has a closeup photo, a 2008 photo is available, two additional photos are available (halfway down the page), there's a distant view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse is in the Azov-Syvash National Park. Heavily damaged during World War II, it was not returned to service until 1957. It was the last lighthouse on the Sea of Azov to be connected to external power, in 1993. Located at the tip of a long sand spit (westernmost of the four on the north coast of the Sea of Azov) about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Henicesk. May be accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS UKR-005; UA-4135; Admiralty N5436; NGA 18608.
* Genicheskiy (Geniches'k)
1883. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash ever 5 s; there is also a continuous red light with a lower focal plane. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower rising at the front of a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with a black vertical stripe. A 2007 photo is available, Wikimapia has a photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, Forand has the same postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse was completed in 1879, but it was not lit until 1883. It was damaged during World War II, but placed back in service by 1944. The building was restored and renovated in 1961. According to a Ukrainian Wikipedia article on Geniches'k, the lighthouse was "illegally occupied" by Russian troops, but we don't know if that is still the case. Located on the beach at Geniches'k, a town at the extreme western end of the Sea of Azov. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS UKR-019; UA-4140; Admiralty N5438.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Russia Black Sea | West: Crimea

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Posted February 19, 2007. Checked and revised September 2, 2014. Lighthouses: 17. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.