The legend of Ruhnu Lighthouse

Tehases toodetud katlaplekist tuletorni detailid transporditi Ruhnu laevaga.

The factory-made rolled-steel components of the lighthouse were transported to Ruhnu by ship.

To get the heavy metal parts to the top of Håubjärre Hill they paved a cobblestone road, leading there from Limo Beach over the sand dunes, which can be seen to this day. There were some hiccups during assembly, with certain components not wanting to fit together very well and some fastening details running out. Legend has it that an unfortunate accident took place during construction, with one of the assemblers sliding down to the bottom of one of the buttresses, from which he could not be rescued. People say that prior to designing his engineering masterpiece in Paris, Gustave Eiffel prepared the plans for the lighthouse in Ruhnu. There is no evidence to either confirm or refute this claim, but one thing is for certain: Ruhnu Lighthouse is a French creation.

Storyteller: Ruth Keskpaik
Used sources and references:

Ruhnu Muuseum

Related objects

Ruhnu Lighthouse

This lighthouse is situated at the highest point on the island, atop Håubjärre (Haubjerre) Hill.

In 1875, components of the metal lighthouse were commissioned from Forges et chantiers de la Méditerranée, based in Le Havre in France, and a second-grade dioptric beacon with a continuous light was ordered from Sautter, Lemonnier & Co. The components arrived in 1876 and the fully assembled lighthouse went into operation in 1877. The 40-metre structure consists of a cylindrical pipe supported by buttresses on its sides. The pipe contains a spiral staircase, which leads to the upper service space beneath the lantern room. The beacon was lit by a four-wick petroleum lamp, its light towering 66 metres above sea level. On 1 May 1915 the Germans blew up the lantern room during combat. Temporary service space was built in 1921. The service space and lantern room were restored in an altered state in 1936 and 1937 according to the designs of engineer Ants Niilre. The auxiliary buildings erected near the lighthouse in the late 19th century are still standing.

Visitors can view the lighthouse, the keeper’s residence and other buildings under state protection as a heritage site.