TRADITIONAL GREEK LIGHTHOUSES

LIGHTHOUSE APOLYTARES (ANTIKITHIRA ISL)

Nearest Town : Potamos Village
Date Established: 1926
Focal Plane: 131 feet (40 meters)
Height of tower: 26.3 feet (8 meters)
Characteristic: two white flash every 15 seconds

Standing on the Southern tip of Antikythira island, halfway between Crete and Kythira, the lighthouse keeps a lonely vigil over the seaway connecting the Ionian Sea to the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Crete. Sixteen miles (26 kilometers) of water separate it from the nortwestern tip of Crete.

The tower has a unique design. Its bottom portion is cylindrical while the top section is conical. It stands at one end of a crumbling, single story square dwelling. The area around the lighthouse, known as "Apolytarais Point" , is rugged and isolated, with sheer cliffs dropping to the sea on all sides of the station. Wild goats are at home on the rock outcroppings and precipitous cliffs.

Boat landings are difficult here, and this made life for the keepers a challenge. Automation brought relief, but when the lighthouse required maintenance, the problem of landing a boat remained. Retired Hellenic Navy officer Nikolaos Pergioudakis recalled his extended stay at the lighthouse years ago when he was sent from Piraeus to Antikythira to convert the house to solar powered operation. The landing was rough and than a storm blew in. Pergioudakis and his work crew were detained for seventeen days. Coast Guard rescue boats were required to remove the crew, because it was too dangerous for other boats to approach the site in foul weather.

Today there are no lightkeepers residing at the remote station. Only about fifty people live on Antikythira, most of them at the tiny port of Potamos village which means "River village". Ferries from Piraeus sporadically visit the island. The lighthouse has a modern FA-251 DC solar beacon with a range of 17 miles (27.4 kilometers). It is not accessible by road and is not open to the public. It is best seen by private boat.

 


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