TRADITIONAL GREEK LIGHTHOUSES

LIGHTHOUSE GAVDOS

Nearest Town : Ampelos
Date Established: 1880 , rebuilt 2003
Focal Plane: 29,5 feet (9 meters)
Height of tower: 29,5 feet (9 meters)
Characteristic: inactive

 

Located about 23 miles (37 kilometers) south of Sfakia, Crete , lies the dreamy island of Gavdos, the southernmost border of Europe, as well as the southernmost land of Greece.

It has a small population, but is visisted by tourist since it is the home of the mythical nymph Calypso of Homer's The Odyssey. Homer called it Ogygia and left his hero shipwrecked there for seven years. Some of its current residents claim they are descended from Odysseus.

The Apostle Paul supposedly was shipwrecked here as well, on his way to Rome to stand trial. Some fifteen centuries later, the pirate Barbarossa used Gavdos as his hideout. These travelers, like visitors today, loved the island for its splendid deaches and fragrant herbs, pines, and cedars, which dominate Gavdos' dry hills. It is a popular stopover for more than 120 species of migrating birds.

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The original lighthouse stood in the same spot and was a round tower 30 feet tall (9 meters) standing 184 feet (56 meters) above the sea. It was visible 25 miles at sea (40 kilometers), but sea mists and clouds sometimes reduced its visibility. About 400 people lived on Gavos at the time the lighthouse was established.

The lighthouse was totally destroyed by fire during World War II. After the war , it stood in ruins and s skeleton tower light replaced it. Today a 13.1 foot (4 meter) metal framework tower provides the beacon flashing once every second from a skeleton light tower on tiny Gavdopoula Islet , just offshore of Gavdos Island.

Gavdos or Gavopoulas Lighthouses a replica of the original 1180 light tower, stands on the highest point of the northwest part of Gavdos Island. Gavdopoula means "Little Gavdos".

In 2003 a replica of the original lighthouse was built with European Union funding and opened as a museum. Ruins of the 1880 tower lie neardy. The replica lighthouse is accessible by a ferry that runs twice a week between Sfakia on Crete and Gavdos Island. The replica lighthouse is open most days, but is closed for a few hours midday. It is the southernmost lighthouse in Greece.

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