From Potemkin stairs in Odessa, any traveler has a view on civilian part of port, open to walkers, where they can reach a sea station. Here, behind the wharf, is a snow-white Vorontsov lighthouse.
Vorontsov lighthouse – is a main lighthouse of Odessa port, was built at the end of the Raid breakwater in 1955. Its construction represents cast-iron rings assembled into a tower. Lighthouse itself is a tower – painted white; top contain lantern lighting – electric lighting red, rotational system with the power of light lenses in white fire 1 million 100 thousand candles. That lighthouse rises 27 m above sea level, altogether 26 m from the base; its range of visibility is 17 miles. Vorontsov lighthouse in bad weather beeps to the sea. In addition to the sound signals, the beacon has circular call signals “VR” (Vorontsov radio) transmitted around by Morse code. In addition, beacon equipped with remote control from shore, in case when weather conditions do not allow to reach it through breakwater.
First lighthouse appeared in Odessa bay in second half of 18th century, next to Turkish fortress. Turkish stone lighthouse destroyed during the second Russian-Turkish war of 1787-1791. When Odessa port was just being built, like the city itself, merchant ships coming to city guided by a stone lighthouse, that stood in western part of the bay, not far from the ruins of Turkish fortress.
Moving to sea gate of Odessa, ships pass several coastal promontories, on one of which in 1827 constracted new lighthouse for the safety requirement for all incoming trade ships. This place called Great Fountain, next to which stands monastery of Orthodox Church. This lighthouse intended for orientation of ships on distant approaches to Odessa. The height of the light of this lighthouse was 201 feet above sea level, because it stood on the maximum elevation of the coastline. That construction of lighthouse equipped with two electric machines and two steam machines, as well as a steam siren, giving signals during fogs. This lighthouse became the first of its kind construction in northern Black Sea coast. It became kind of city attractions, because its light accompanied Odessa through the times.
Vorontsov lighthouse history
The first Vorontsov lighthouse was built in 1843. With a request of necessity to install another lighthouse, the Dutch consul in Odessa – Tabbuda-Marigny, addressed to governor-general of the region, Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov. The reason was that increased mole changed a line of ships’ progress to the port, from which some vessels touched underwater structures of mole. The new lighthouse was a wooden structure 26 meters high from base. This lighthouse itself was an octagonal tower with a mast, which raised at night by kerosene lanterns. In the daytime a yellow flag raised on mast. In 1854, this lighthouse destroyed due to a new war with the Turkish empire. After the war, it reinstated, but the decision was temporary, and it was soon obvious that city needs new one.
Next lighthouse installed in 1863. Itwas unique for that time because for its design for the first time used tubing. The tower of lighthouse towered 30 feet from its base. Lighthouse opened on November 8. Same day of opening monument to Prince Mikhail Semenovich Vorontsov. Munument to him stands on Cathedral square in center of Odessa.
The second Vorontsov lighthouse appeared in 1888 and installed at the end of Raid Mall. It was a white cast-iron tower 17 meters high. That lighthouse equipped with a light-optical apparatus of the Fresnel system. It gave a rotating fire with glimpses of red color in one minute with a range of visibility of 13, 7 miles. In 1911 the lighthouse equipped with a powerful air siren.
During Second World War Odessa defended itself from advancing Romanian troops. Red Army blown up Vorontsov lighthouse for not be using as a landmark by enemy’s artillery.
Third one Vorontsov lighthouse built in 1955. Its construction of lighthouse symbolically completed restoration of port lying after the war in ruins. Odessa port raised from ashes could once again serve the commercial purposes, and the lighthouse – to give light and confidence in safety to incoming ships.