Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Lighthouses in Åland

This very cool lighthouse card arrived a while ago from a swap. Mmmm, I like seeing lighthouses around the world!

The lighthouse on the left is called Lågskär and was built in 1920. It is located in southern Åland, around 20 kilometres south of Mariehamn. In 1696, the first Cairn (a sea mark) was built on the island of Lågskär, but it was destroyed by Russia in 1714 during the Greater Wrath (a period of time in the Finnish history referring to the Russian invasion and subsequent military occupation of Finland from 1714 until the treaty of Nystad 1721). There have been several different lighthouses on the island, the current one was built in 1920. It was automated in 1961.

The middle lighthouse is called Märket. Märket is also a small uninhabited skerry in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland (in the area of the autonomous Åland Islands), which has been divided between two sovereignties since the Treaty of Fredrikshamn of 1809 defined the border between Sweden and Russian Empire as going through the middle of the island. The westernmost land point of Finland is on Märket. The lighthouse is on the Finnish side of the current border, which has been unmanned and automated since 1979. When it was built by the Russians and Finns in 1885 there were no clear maps of the island. After the completion of the lighthouse, it was discovered that it had been built on the Swedish part of the island. As a result, the border was adjusted in 1985 so that the lighthouse is now located on Finnish territory. However, the overall land area given to each country could not change, and neither could the coastline, so as not to interfere with each country's fishing rights.

The lighthouse on the right is called Sälskär and was built in 1865. It's located in northern Åland. The lighthouse was automated in 1949 and has been unmanned since.

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