Lighthouses: Shining Historically and Photogenically

Lighthouses have stood for centuries by the seas for the sole purpose of guiding and protecting people traveling by water. Withstanding all kinds of weather and crashing waves over hundreds of years, they have served generations and generations of fishermen; seafarers; and passengers well. Lighthouses: Shining Historically and Photogenically

Having existed for ages, lighthouses have not only been reliable navigation aids but have also been regarded as historical monuments and paradigms of excellent architecture and engineering. In addition, they have many symbolisms, which add to their appeal. For those reasons, lighthouses have become popular tourist spots and subjects of photography and other forms of art.

Apart from enduring the test of time and nature's elements, these everlasting beacons of the seas have also remained useful amidst the advancements of modern navigation technology and GPS. Although ships and boats are now equipped with various electronic navigation aids, fishermen and seafarers still depend on lighthouses as a backup for electronic navigation aids in the event that those electronic navigation aids may fail. Also, the use of lighthouses is just like double-checking with street signs while driving on the road with GPS.

With their resiliating beauty and continuous service throughout history until present, lighthouses have drawn much attention towards themselves. They're highly regarded for their purpose that they serve, aesthetic, resilience, historical background, and meaningful symbolisms. Pictures of these impressive; stunning structures, when displayed, can be as attention-grabbing as the actual lighthouses, especially when skillfully captured by a professional photographer.

Interesting Facts About Lighthouses

Before the tall; strong; beautiful lighthouses came to be, in ancient times, bonfires lit on clifftops served as guides for ships and boats. The bonfires were later elevated with the use of platforms.

From the simple, elevated bonfires evolved the more complex, stronger, towering lighthouses standing on cliffs, sandy shoals, rocky or reefy seabeds, and harbor entrances we see today that send light signals out in the sea for voyagers' safety. The signals they transmit would either be warnings to stay away from dangerous areas or a guiding direction for safe passage. The lighting of the lighthouses have also improved over time from the Argand Lamps, carbon arc lamps, oil burners, Dalén lights, till came the electric lights in the 1960s.

One of the oldest; well-known lighthouses is the Pharos of Alexandria in Egypt, which was considered one of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was built between 280 - 247 BC. It stood 100 m or 330 ft high but was destroyed due to a series of earthquakes in the year 956, 1303, and 1323.

Among the ancient lighthouses in history, it's the Tower of Hercules in Coruña, Galicia, Spain that still stands and still is operational till present. It's a 57 m or 187 ft high lighthouse that was built in 2nd century CE and had undergone restoration between 1788 - 1791. The lighthouse has become one of Spain's national monuments and since 2009, it has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The first lighthouse in America was built in the year 1716 in Little Brewster Island in Boston. But it's the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey that's the oldest existing lighthouse in America, which was built in 1764. It was never rebuilt and is still operating.

In America, lighthouses have their own holiday called the National Lighthouse Day celebrated on August 7, in commemoration of the Congress' approval of the Lighthouse Act on August 7, 1989.

In the early history of the lighthouses, lighthouse keepers tended and maintained the lighthouses. As lighthouse automation became prevalent in the 1990s, lighthouses no longer required lighthouse keepers.

Lighthouses as Spiritual Beacons of Life

Through their powerful light that can reach several miles, lighthouses can convey to voyagers messages that: "This is the safe way to go." or "This is a dangerous area you should stay away from." If we delve deeper into these conducive towers, there lies more in them than just the precautionary messages they send out in the sea. These nautical instruments also hold many meaningful symbolisms, making them spiritual beacons of our lives as well.

Below are some of the lighthouses' symbolisms.


Lighthouses, giving off light amidst the darkness during night travels in the sea, can symbolize hope during dark times in one's life. Just as voyagers are assured by the light given off by the lighthouse that they can reach their destination safely, one can also be positive that the dark times one is going through will pass and that things will soon get better.


The lighthouses' nautical role of guidance, itself, is something they also symbolize. And the guidance lighthouses deliver to voyagers in the sea can be related to our lives in mental and emotional aspects as well. Much like how voyagers seek the lighthouses' shining light to lead them away from rough seas and show them the route to the safe haven of gentle waters the harbor provides, we can seek the guiding light of our spiritual lighthouse that lies within us.

The inner lighthouse of ours can safely direct us to our own port of call we have within to find peace amidst the seas of mental and emotional turbulence we may experience.


Lighthouses also have been linked to the Christian religion, particularly to the sacred holiday of Easter. Easter is all about the fulfillment of the prophecy of a Messiah who would suffer persecution, sacrifice life for our sins, and rise the third day after death. And that Messiah the prophecy pertained to was Jesus.

Jesus experienced a great deal of suffering, died by crucifixion, and rose from the tomb three days after his death. His death was a saving grace for humankind, and He had risen to guide us in heaven. He also promised the gift of eternal life in heaven to believers of his death and resurrection.

Thus, in the case of Christianity, the lighthouses that give off a guiding light from above their tower have become a representation of salvation as well as guidance in a religious sense.


For hundreds of years, lighthouses have taken a beating from the strongest storms and the most aggressive waves, yet still, they remain standing steady and tall, shining their light brightly. In a psychological sense, lighthouses can represent mental and emotional strength and never giving up. When life tends to get rough on you, same as how violent the waters and the weather can be to lighthouses, you can channel your inner lighthouse to find your inner strength and courage to take on the challenges you face.

The sight of a lighthouse is as breathtaking as it is comforting. And the symbolisms it holds make it so inspiring. A display of photos of lighthouses in a room can add a striking aesthetic with meaningfulness.

A brilliant gallery of lighthouses can be found on