May 29, 2017

5 Guiding Lights of Europe!

For years Lighthouses have been protecting ships as they navigate our shorelines.  With lamps shining bright, they guide captains past treacherous rocks, reefs and coastlines offering safe passage or entry into port.

Let’s take a look at some of Europe’s many guiding lights!


Finisterre Lighthouse

This lighthouse is located on a rocky peninsula on the west coast of Spain.  The coast in this area is known as the “Death Coast” and has been the location of many shipwrecks making the lighthouse even more important!  The lighthouse was built in 1853 and sits 138 meters above sea level.  Finisterre is also a well known pilgrimage site.

Finisterre Lighthouse Spain

Finisterre Lighthouse by Yellow.Cat, on Flickr

Cordouan Lighthouse

This beautiful lighthouse located on the Atlantic coast of France, sits at the mouth of the Gironde River near the coast of Medoc. This still active lighthouse is the 10th tallest traditional lighthouse in the world and is located about 7 km from the coast.  Construction on the Cordouan Lighthouse began in 1584 and was completed in 1611.  The lighthouse can be seen for miles both day and night.  Next time you’re in the area, you might want to visit this amazing site!

Cordouan Lighthouse France

By Thibault Grouas

Lindau Lighthouse

Yes, even lakes need lighthouses!  This very photogenic lighthouse guards the entrance to Lindau Harbor on Lake Constance deep in Southern Germany.  Sitting on the border with Switzerland this magnificent lighthouse was built in 1853 where it still sits waiting for you to visit.

Lindau Lighthouse Lake Constance Germany

By Taxiarchos228

Dover Lighthouse

Nestled on the grounds of medieval Dover Castle in the English countryside is this beautiful Roman lighthouse.  The Romans actually built two lighthouses but this is the only one still standing and today it is the tallest Roman ruin in Britain.  In its heyday, there was an open flame on the top that guided ships into the harbor.

Dover Roman Lighthouse England

The Roman Lighthouse by Mark Abel, on Flickr

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse

Located on the North Sea in northern Denmark, the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse started lighting the way in 1900. Even though the lighthouse sits 60 meters above sea level, the shifting seas and winds have blown sand up the cliff until the light couldn’t be seen from the sea.  It was at this point on August 1, 1968 that the lighthouse ceased operation.

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse Denmark

© Tester12345 de.wikipedia.org

 

What European Lighthouses have you seen?

The 6 EST’s of Europe

What is the largest, longest or biggest in Europe?  Come on a journey with us to find out the best-EST and most-EST that Europe has to offer.

Largest Castle – Prague Castle

In fact, Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world and not just Europe.  Dating back to 870, the castle is home to the Bohemian crown jewels, the National Gallery, Toy Museum, Czech history museum and a gallery displaying the history of the castle.  Over the years, the castle has been remodeled and, therefore, you will find representations of every architectural style including Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and Romanesque Basilica of St. George.  No visit to Prague is complete without taking a tour of the castle or spending time in one of its many museums.

Prague Castle Czech Republic

Prague Castle by Adam Zivner

Tallest Mountain – Mount Elbrus

At 18,510 feet this inactive volcano stands above the rest in this part of the Urals.  Located near the Georgian border, Mt Elbrus’ permanent ice cap feeds 22 glaciers which in turn feed into the Baksan, Kuban and Malka rivers.  Legend has it, this is the place where Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock!  This mountaineering area will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Mt Elbrus and the Caucasus Mountains

Mt Elbrus by Jialiang Gao

Largest City – Moscow, Russia

The capital of Russia was first mentioned in 1147 and is the most northern city to have a population of over 10 million people.  Sitting along the banks of the Moskva River, Moscow has seen the history of Russia play out before its very eyes.  To say that Russia’s history has been stormy is an understatement but Moscow has been the capital through the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Tsardom of Russia, Soviet Union and today’s Russia.  With the fall of the Iron Curtain Moscow has become quite a tourist destination and no one does not recognize the famous architectural style, the Onion Dome.  Sites to be seen include 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites, Red Square and the Kremlin, a zoo, museums, art galleries, 96 parks, 18 gardens and the world famous ballet.  One of Moscow’s newest claim to fame is it has the most billionaires (79) than anywhere else beating out NYC!

Red Square Moscow Russia

Red Square Moscow by Christophe Meneboeuf

Northernest City – Hammerfest & Honningsvag, Norway

Seems there is a little disagreement on what constitutes a city which is why there are 2 claimants to the most northern city in Europe.  Norwegian law says that to be a city there needs to be a population of at least 5,000 people.  Hammerfest is south of Honningsvag but Hammerfest is the only one that meets the city population requirements.  Both cities are important fishing and hunting areas with histories dating to prehistoric time.  Strange as it may seem for the most northern city, but the ocean off Honningsvag is ice free!  Hammerfest has a huge migration of reindeer during the summer.

Hammerfest Norway

Hammerfest Norway by Clemensfranz

Honningsvåg Norway

Honningsvåg Norway by Luca Boldrini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longest River – Volga

Ending in the Caspian Sea, this 2,194 mile long river skirts its way through Central Russia after its humble beginning in the Valdai Hills about 200 miles south east of St. Petersburg.  Even though the Volga freezes for most of its length for 3 months of the year, it has played a very important role in the movement of people from Asia to Europe during decades past.  The Volga estuary, the largest in Europe, is the center of the caviar industry and home to many species of animals including pelicans, flamingos, lotuses and beaver.  The river has also endured many wars, much strife by its people, pollution and the destruction of towns to make way for dams.  As with other great rivers of the world, if only they could talk the stories we would hear!

Volga River Russia

Volga River by Evgeny Pavlov

Oldest Amusement Park – Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is in the center of Copenhagen, Denmark and was opened on August 15, 1843.  At this time it was actually outside the city limits but as the city grew the park became one of its central points and is right next to Copenhagen’s central station.  Legend says that Walt Disney decided to build Disneyland after visiting Tivoli.  The park is best known for its wooden roller coast, which was built in 1914, but today has many other modern roller coasters containing loop-to-loops and zero-G’s.  Inside this beautiful park there are performing art theaters, including one dedicated to Pantomime, concert areas, parades and gardens.  The park is spectacular at night where it sparkles under the many lights.

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen Denmark

Tivoli Gardens by Tbmurray

 

These are few of the -ests of Europe.  I’m sure there are many more.

What other -ests or do you know?