There is a legend that says that before Gustave Eiffel created the world famous Eiffer Tower in Paris, he designed the lighhouse on the island of Ruhnu. There is no evidence to support or disprove that claim, but the metal cylinder tower erected in 1877 was indeed designed by a French company.

Ruhnu Island is situated at the crossroads of several important fairways and the existence of a wooden lighthouse on the island can be traced back to the year 1646. The direct predecessor of today's lighthouse on Ruhnu was the 34-metre wooden hexagonal tower in the middle of the island built in 1860. The yellow lighthouse worked just fine until 1869, when the tower was to be equipped with a modern lighting apparatus. However, the wooden structure was too weak to accommodate the device and the only solution was to tear down the old tower and put up a new, stronger one, this time made of metal.

The new boiler-plate tower with a lantern room and a Fresnel device of the 2nd category was manufactured in a factory in Le Havre, France by the company Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee. Preparations for erecting the new lighthouse began in 1876, but due to very strong winds and problems that occurred while actually assembling the tower delayed construction works which were finally completed in 1877, and now one of the most peculiar lighthouses in Estonia stands on a hill in the eastern part of the island of Ruhnu. The boiler-plate cylinder is 2 metres in diameter, and to support it from the outside, four counterforts have been connected to the central cylinder with horizontal bindings.

Currently rust-coloured, Ruhnu lighthouse was originally grey, with a red dome.


Region: Saare County     Coordinates: 57.80135 N, 23.26015 E
Light: night     Light characteristic: Fl W 4 s
Height from base: 40 m     Focal plane: 65 m
Visibility of light: 11 M     Year of construction: 1646

Information about visiting Ruhnu lighthouse can be found on the Visit Estonia website or Ruhnu homepage.

Last updated: 28 January 2020