A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and used as a navigational aid for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways. Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, safe entries to harbors, and can also assist in aerial navigation. Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and replacement by modern electronic navigational systems.
Before the development of clearly defined ports mariners were guided by fires built on hilltops. Since raising the fire would improve the visibility, placing the fire on a platform became a practice that led to the development of the lighthouse. In antiquity, the lighthouse functioned more as an entrance marker to ports than as a warning signal for reefs and promontories, unlike many modern lighthouses. The most famous lighthouse structure from antiquity was the Pharos of Alexandria, although it collapsed during an earthquake centuries later.
The intact Tower of Hercules at A Coruna and the ruins of the Roman lighthouse at Dover Castle in England give insight into ancient lighthouse construction; other evidence about lighthouses exists in depictions on coins and mosaics, of which many represent the lighthouse at Ostia. Coins from Alexandria, Ostia, and Laodicea in Syria also exist. Read more ...
The lure of lighthouses - Photos CNN - August 7, 2014
In honor of National Lighthouse Day, we invited you to share your best lighthouse photos with CNN iReport. As dozens of images started pouring in, we were reminded of a near-universal fact: People love lighthouses. The beacons of light are popular travel destinations across the world.
Here are 10 other lesser-known lighthouse facts:
1. The first lighthouse was Egypt's Pharos of Alexandria, built in the third century BC. The lighthouse of Alexandria was made from a fire on a platform to signal the port entrance.
2. The United States is home to more lighthouses than any other country.
3. The first keeper in America, George Worthylake, met an untimely death: He drowned, along with his wife and daughter, when returning to the Little Brewster Island lighthouse in 1718.
4. With more than 115 lighthouses along the Great Lakes, Michigan boasts the most lighthouses of any U.S. state.
5. Many enthusiasts yearn to experience the life of a lighthouse keeper. Ohio woman Sheila Consaul paid $71,010 for Lake Erie's Fairport Harbor West Breakwall Lighthouse in 2011 and has been fixing it up ever since. If you're not looking to buy, there are lots of opportunities to stay in a lighthouse for a night or two.
6. The world's oldest existing lighthouse is considered to be Tower of Hercules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that marks the entrance of Spain's La Coru–a harbor. The lighthouse, which was erected in the first century, is still operational.
7. The most expensive lighthouse built in America is St. George Reef, near Crescent City, California. It took 10 years to construct and cost $715,000.
8. Lighthouse keeping was one of the first U.S. government jobs available to women, going back to the 19th century.
9. Despite advances in technology, lighthouses are still considered aids to navigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.
10. Towers are given different colors and patterns -- diamonds, spirals and stripes, for example -- to distinguish them from each other.
Spiritually souls are drawn to lighthouses for different reason, often by accident or synchronicity. Perhaps it's the bright light reflecting on the water as a reminder of something buried in the subconsciousness mind emanating from the collective unconscious, soon to be remembered.
Astrology: Water signs (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio) are often drawn to lighthouses.
Elements: The lighthouse connects all of the elements - spiraling consciousness upward and downward for experience.
Initiations: You enter as lighthouse ... and as you ascend ... your issues fall away ... clarity arriving when you reach the light at the top.
Mythology: The Beacon is the Guiding Light, like the Illuminated Eye of ancient mythology, which shines in all directions and enables all who are adrift at sea to use it as a focal point in order to steer to the calm waters of the safe harbor which the Lighthouse oversees.
Tarot: Symbolically a Lighthouse is similar to a Star and the Hermit in the Tarot Deck. However, as the Star serves as guidance for all those who look to the heavens, or higher consciousness, and the Hermit serves as a guide to all who wish to ascend the mountaintop, or highest level of spiritual attainment here on Earth, the Lighthouse serves as a guide and beacon to all who are either voyaging or adrift on water.
Emotions: Our inner lighthouse is our spiritual guide which safely directs us to that peaceful port-of-call which resides within each of us and provides us with calm waters, safe harbor and emotional tranquility from the turbulent seas which are currently surrounding us. Once we are safe within our Harbor of Tranquility we are better able to evaluate the emotional tides and currents which are temporarily disturbing our voyage. Then, once our emotional storm finally passes, we can once again set out to sea and enjoy clear skies, calm seas and prosperous Waters as we cheerfully sail toward new horizons and new adventures.
Lost: The lighthouse stands alone and tall in both light and darkness and it, along with its beacon, is a focal point which symbolizes strength, guidance and safe harbor; it is a Spiritual "Welcome Mat" for all those who are traveling by sea.
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