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Miķeļbāka Lightouse
Miķeļbāka is located in Latvia
Tārgale parish
Ventspils Municipality
Coordinates57°35′59″N 21°58′28″E / 57.59972°N 21.97444°E / 57.59972; 21.97444Coordinates: 57°35′59″N 21°58′28″E / 57.59972°N 21.97444°E / 57.59972; 21.97444
Year first constructed1885 (first)
Year first lit1957 (current)
Constructionconcrete tower
Tower shapecylindrical tower with double balcony and lantern
Markings / patternwhite tower, red lantern roof and rail
Tower height56 metres (184 ft)
Focal height59 metres (194 ft)
Range19 nautical miles (35 km; 22 mi)
CharacteristicFl (2) W 6s.
Admiralty numberC3476
NGA number12196
ARLHS numberLAT-010
Latvia numberUZ-470[1]

Miķeļbāka or Miķeļtornis is the tallest lighthouse in Latvia. It is located in the village of Miķeļtornis, Tārgale parish, Ventspils Municipality; about 34 kilometres (21 mi) northeast of Ventspils.

"Mikelbaka" meaning[edit]

Legends date the name "Mikelbaka" to 1749, when the coast was surveyed by Mikhail Ryabinin, a Russian midshipman. After a period, the name was changed to the Latvian "Mikelis”. At 56 metres (184 ft) it is the tallest lighthouse tower in the Baltic States.


The first tower was completed in 1884 – a cylindrical 55 metres (180 ft) tall brick structure, that—at the time—was the tallest lighthouse in Latvia. An electric light source was installed and supplied with electricity from a power plant in a nearby building. In the early 20th century, cracks began to appear in the tower as still seen today.

World War I[edit]

In 1915 the light source and the generator were transported to Russia. During Germany's occupation of Latvia, they installed an acetylene light source. During WWI, the lighthouse was shelled by artillery. The original lighthouse was patched up, but it had to be demolished in 1932.

Latvian independence (1918–1940)[edit]

In 1932, a temporary wooden tower, almost as high as the original, was built. The tower was finished in September 1934. A German optical device – a 1.76 metres (5 ft 9 in) tall, fixed belt lens – was installed in the new wooden tower. The light source was a Swedish-made, acetylene device. Depending on the distance, the light was either green or white.

Soviet times[edit]

Entrance to the lighthouse

In 1941, during its retreat, the Red Army blew up the wooden lighthouse to keep it out of German hands.

In 1946, a 30 metres (98 ft) tall temporary tower was built.

Present day[edit]

The present-day Miķeļbāka lighthouse was built in 1957, documented in the sign above its front door. Two hundred and ninety-three steps lead to the top of the lighthouse, offering a view overlooking the surrounding Kurzeme coast of the Baltic Sea and a lighthouse on the Syrve Peninsula of Saaremaa that can be seen in fine weather at a distance of 35 kilometres (22 mi). The current tower is 56 metres (184 ft) high, the beacon having a focal height of 59 metres (194 ft) above sea level, making it the tallest in the Baltic States.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "Lighthouses of Latvia". The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

External links[edit]