Saturday, May 8, 2010

A unique and very lonely lighthouse!

I was intrigued to read about the world's most lonely lighthouse. It's in the city of Cologne, in Germany - about 125 miles from the sea as the crow flies! The Austrian Times reports:

The Helios lighthouse has stood among factory chimneys, warehouses and wasteland since 1890 after it had been ordered from the manufacturer Helios-Elektrizitäts AG by the German government to be situated on the island of Zanzibar. But shortly before it was due to be delivered Zanzibar was handed over to the British - who announced they did not want a German-made lighthouse on their island.

The lighthouse maker located at the heart of the Ehrenfeld industrial estate since 1881 then decided to use the unwanted building as a way of advertising their products - but so far from the sea they attracted few buyers and by 1904 the firm was bust despite a buyout by AEG and Siemens.

But although Cologne is landlocked and the lighthouse factory bankrupt, the tower has been a good advert for the maritime business. Carpenter Max Dietrich Bahr, 74, a former sailor, makes ship's steering wheels in his small workshop located in the car park below the lighthouse.

And there is even a shipyard nearby - even though the city and even the nearest river and lake is miles away.

Now the former lighthouse factory is a furniture warehouse, and the factory chimneys that once dominated the skyline have vanished and been replaced by modern buildings. But the Helios lighthouse - the only genuine functioning lighthouse that never saw the sea - has remained.

Local councillors are now considering what to do with the building including the possibility of allowing tours and exhibition inside, and are even considering a plan to put a small beach bar with imported sand in the area.

. . .

Andre Schmitz said: "Who knows, with global warming it might still end up by the sea."

There's more at the link.

Just an amusing bit of history to brighten your Sunday.



Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good place for a little café, some art, and a good view from the top.


Old NFO said...

Now that is one I never heard of... interesting! :-)