Tourlitis Lighthouse

Andros, Greece | C.1897

Photo Credit: George Bogdanis

With an aura that evokes another world and time, the Tourlitis Lighthouse is still credited today for advancing maritime navigation for Greece’s port city of Andros. Originally constructed in the final years of the 19th century, the Lighthouse was destroyed in World War II, only to be rebuilt and reintroduced as the country’s first automated lighthouse.

Across from the captivating Venetian castle of Andros, the Lighthouse conjures a sense of wonder and wizardry…or perhaps even the work of a cunning sea architect, swimming proudly around the twisted stone column that serves as the lighthouse’s base, featuring a naturally carved appearance due to thousands of years of erosion (allegedly…).

Situated 200 meters out to sea, the Lighthouse is the only structure of its kind in Europe to be built on such a rock formation. Its construction required ten years of work, completed by an able, seemingly amphibious team of Greek builders, who managed to create a carved stone staircase in the middle of the ocean. On New Year’s Day in 1897, it was ready for operation, and began to illuminate the seas of the Mediterranean.

The Lighthouse successfully lit the way for ships traveling for nearly fifty years before it met an untimely fate. Neither an unwieldy sorcerer nor a hot-tempered sea dragon destroyed the castle, rather it was German bombs, which left nothing behind other than ruins and a scaffold tower in its wake.

A half-century later, Greek oil tycoon Alexandros Goulandris decided to wield some magic of his own. Seeking to celebrate the memory of his deceased daughter Violanda, Goulandris funded the rebuilding of the Lighthouse and dedicated it in her name. Opened in 1994, the present Tourlitis Lighthouse is a replica of the original, serving not only as an enchanting beacon to behold, but an everlasting token of a father’s love.

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