Lighthouses of Eastern Latvia

Latvia faces west on the Baltic Sea and north on the Gulf of Rīga, an elliptical basin connected to the Baltic by the Irbe Strait. The western part of the country occupies a broad peninsula between the Gulf and the Baltic, an area that was included in the independent Duchy of Courland (Kurzeme in Latvian) during the 17th and 18th centuries. Rīga and the east coast of the Gulf were part of Swedish Livonia during the 17th century.

The Russian Empire annexed Swedish Livonia in 1710 and Courland in 1795. Latvia remained part of the Russian Empire until the end of World War I in 1918. After two decades of independence, it was incorporated into the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1990. The older Latvian lighthouses are from the Russian Imperial period, and some of the newer ones are of Soviet construction.

This page includes lighthouses of the Gulf of Rīga; lighthouses of the Baltic coast and Irbe Strait are described on the Western Latvia page.

Internationally, most locations on the coast of Latvia were known by their German names prior to World War I; these German names for the older lighthouses are shown in curly brackets {}.

The Latvian word for a lighthouse is bāka ("beacon"); the suffix -rags denotes a cape, and sala is an island. Lighthouses in Latvia are monitored and regulated by the Latvian Maritime Administration (Latvijas jūras administrācija) but are actually operated by the local port authorities in Liepāja, Ventspils and Rīga.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. UZ numbers are from the official Latvian light list, Ugunis un Zīmes. Light List numbers are from volume C of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 116.

General Sources
Lighthouse in Latvia
Information in English posted by the Latvian travel site Vietas.lv.
Online List of Lights - Latvia
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Most of the Latvian photos are by Klaus Kern or Rainer Arndt.
Ugunis un zīmes (List of Aids to Navigation)
The official Latvian light list is available in .pdf format.
Vikipēdija - Latvijas Bākas
From the Latvian edition of Wikipedia, articles (in Latvian) on the major lighthouses, some with photos.
Leuchttürme in Lettland
Photos by Andreas Köhler.
Lighthouses in Latvia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Latvia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Port of Ventspils - Lighthouses
Information (in English) on three active lighthouses that are open for public tours.
Leuchttürme an der lettischen Küste
Photos of the major Latvian lighthouses taken in 2009 and posted by Bernd Claußen.
Latvian Lighthouses
Historic postcard images posted by Michel Forand.
Leuchttürme der ehemaligen deutschen Ostgebiete
Postcard views of historical German lighthouses on the Baltic coast, posted by Klaus Huelse.

Daugavgriva Light
Daugavgrīva Light, Rīga, June 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Jānis Vilniņš

Roja Municipality Lighthouses
* Ģipka
1954. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white light, 2 s on, 4 s off. 30 m (98 ft) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower. The upper 12 m (39 ft) of the tower is enclosed by a large slatted daymark; the upper 2/3 of the daymark is painted red and the lower 1/3 white. Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Kern's photo, another good photo is available, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Located near the waterfront in Ģipka. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-021; UZ-400; Admiralty C3486; NGA 12216.
Roja (2)
Around 2000? Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); continuous light, white, red or green depending on direction. 19 m (62 ft) triangular cylindrical skeletal tower, painted red. A small equipment shelter stands beside the tower. Trabas has Erich Hartmann's photo, Köhler has a photo, a distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the southeast side of the harbor entrance at Roja. Site and tower closed. UZ-390; Admiralty C3489; NGA 12224.
Roja Range Rear (2)
1930s(?). Inactive since around 1980(?). 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower, partially enclosed by a slatted daymark. Originally painted white, the tower is now red with rust. Bronius Sriubas rediscovered this abandoned tower in 2011 and contributed the photo at right; Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the south side of the harbor area. Site and tower closed. ARLHS LAT-013; ex-Admiralty C3488.1.
* Roja Range Rear (3)
Around 1980(?). Inactive since around 2000(?). 24 m (79 ft) concrete block monument, carrying a stork's nest in a 2015 photo. Google has a street view and a satellite view. The nature of the monument is not known. Located in central Roja, near the football stadium. Site open, tower closed. ex-Admiralty C3489.1.
Roja Range Rear Light
Roja Range Rear Light, Roja, June 2011
photo copyright Bronius Sriubas; used by permission
Mērsrags {Markgrafen}
1875 (reconstructed in 1922). Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 5 s. 19 m (62 ft) round cast iron tower, encased in concrete, with lantern and gallery, supported by eight broad buttresses. Lighthouse painted white with red trim. A photo is at right, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Kern's photo, Michel Forand has a 1923 postcard view, Köhler has a photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This light guards a prominent cape about halfway between Cape Kolka and the city of Rīga. Prefabricated in France, the lighthouse was encased in concrete after being badly damaged during World War I. Huelse has a postcard view of the lighthouse before the reconstruction. Located about 6 km (4 mi) northeast of the town of Mērsrags. Site and tower closed (private property) as of fall 2018, although the lighthouse could be seen from a distance. ARLHS LAT-009; UZ-375; Admiralty C3494; NGA 12228.
* Mērsrags Inner Range Front
Date unknown. Inactive since 2012, but maintained as a daybeacon. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower mounted on a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Tower painted red; the front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Köhler has a photo, Google has a closeup street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the north side of the harbor at the west end. Site open, tower closed. UZ-365; ex-Admiralty C3495; ex-NGA 12229.
* Mērsrags Inner Range Rear
Date unknown. Inactive since 2012, but maintained as a daybeacon. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower mounted on concrete piers. Tower painted red; the front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Köhler has a photo, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located a short distance west of the front light. Site open, tower closed. UZ-366; ex-Admiralty C3495.1; ex-NGA 12229.1.

Engurē Municipality Lighthouses
* Engurē
1954. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 19 m (62 ft) skeletal tower with a red and white daymark. Köhler has a photo, Zalais Nestabilais has a photo, a 2010 photo is available, Trabas has Erich Hartmann's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the north side of Engurē. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-005; UZ-345; Admiralty C3501; NGA 12248.
Mērsrags Light
Mērsrags Light, Roja, April 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Alvals
* Ragaciems (2)
1960 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 30 m (98 ft) tower, comprised of a square tower topped by a skeletal mast. A red slatted daymark surrounds all sides of the upper portion of the square tower. Trabas has Kern's photo, Köhler has a photo, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. The original beacon was a 5 m (17 ft) square concrete tower located a short distance southeast of the present light; Google has a satellite view. Located on a broadly rounded bend of the coast on the southwest shore of the Gulf of Rīga 1.2 km (3/4 mi) north of Ragaciems. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-025; UZ-335; Admiralty C3502; NGA 12252.

Jūrmala City Lighthouse
* Bulli (Buļļuciems, Lielupe)
1956. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 3.5 s off. 28 m (92 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with gallery. The upper 3/4 of the tower is covered by a slatted daymark; the upper half of the daymark is painted red and the lower half white. Köhler has a photo, Andrejs Tambergs has a 2017 photo, another 2017 photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located just off the beach at the end of 29th Street, about 13 km (8 mi) northwest of Rīga. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-019; UZ-330; Admiralty C3503; NGA 12256.

Rīga City Lighthouses
* Daugavgrīva (Bolderāja) {Dünamünde} (7?)
1957 (station established at least by 1721). Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 2.5 s. 35 m (115 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands; lantern painted black with a red roof. A photo by Jānis Vilniņš is at the top of this page, Trabas has Arndt's photo, Claußen has a page for the lighthouse, Ezra Nuakin has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. A 2018 street view by Alexandr Pelsh shows this lighthouse, the front range light (see below), and the square 1-story keeper's house with cupola (a classic Russian design). Latvia's oldest light station is the landfall light for Rīga, the nation's capital and principal seaport. The station has a long and complex history. Lights were shown here from at least 1536, and a masonry tower was in regular service by 1721. A 30 m (98 ft) octagonal wood tower was built in 1819 and discontinued in 1854. A conical cast iron tower, installed in 1863, was destroyed in 1915 in World War I, and the concrete replacement built in 1921 was destroyed in 1944 in World War II. The 1863 Frenel lens was saved and is on display at the Ovīši lighthouse museum (see above). Located on the west side of the entrance to the Daugava River and Rīga harbor. Direct road access is fenced, but the lighthouse can be reached by walking the beach. Site open; Claußen was able to climb the tower but we have no information on when it might be open to the public. ARLHS LAT-004; UZ-075; Admiralty C3526; NGA 12272.
* [Daugava West Mole]
1998. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); green flash every 3 s. 7 m (24 ft) round cylindrical tower with a small gallery but no lantern, painted white. Trabas has Arndt's photo, another photo is available, Alexandr Pelsh has a closeup street view, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the west mole at the Daugava River entrance. Apparently accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-030; UZ-105; Admiralty C3528; NGA 12276.
* Daugavgrīva Range Front (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); red light, 2.5 s on, 2.5 s off, synchronized with the rear light. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical tower, painted red. The front of the tower is covered by a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. Köhler has a photo, Trabas has Arndt's photo, the light is seen in a 2018 street view by Alexandr Pelsh, and Google has a satellite view. This light replaced a square skeletal tower sometime after 2010. Located close to the Daugavgrīva lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. UZ-080; Admiralty C3530; NGA 12280.
* Daugavgrīva Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); red light, 2.5 s on, 2.5 s off, synchronized with the front light. 26.5 m (87 ft) square cylindrical tower, painted red. The front of the tower is covered by a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. Köhler has a photo, Trabas has Kern's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west bank of the Daugava 590 m (0.37 mi) southeast of the front light. Site open, tower closed. UZ-081; Admiralty C3530.1; NGA 12284.
* Mangaļsala {Magnusholm} Beacon (Daugava East Mole) (1) (relocated to Rīga)
1863. Inactive since 1998. 6 m (20 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A 2007 photo and a 2009 closeup are available, Uldis Bardins has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. This little lighthouse was formerly at the end of the east mole at the Daugava River entrance, opposite the Daugavgrīva lighthouse. The lighthouse has been relocated to Rīga, where it stands in Kronvalda Park near the Free Port. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Rīga. ex-Admiralty C3528.
Rīnūži Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); orange light, 3 s on, 2 s off, synchronized with the front light. 22 m (72 ft) square skeletal tower. The front of the tower carries a trapezoidal slatted daymark, painted red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Erich Hartmann's closeup photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The front light is on a much shorter skeletal tower. Located in the harbor district a short distance west of the previous light. Site status unknown. UZ-101; Admiralty C3532.1; NGA 12336.
* Baltā-Baznicas Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); yellow light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 18 m (59 ft) square stone church steeple; the light is shown through a square window. Sergej Voznuk has a photo, Alise Štāle has a 2018 photo, Trabas has Erich Hartmann's photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This is a northbound (downstream) range guiding vessels leaving Rīga. The church is the historic Daugavgrīva White Church, a Lutheran church built in the late 1700s. There is a tradition that the church also served as a lighthouse, but more likely it was only a daybeacon until the range light was installed. Located on Atlantuas Iela at the intersection of Baltā-Baznicas Iela, in Mangaļi, on the east side of the Daugava. Site open, tower probably closed. Site manager: Daugavgrīvas Baltā Baznīca. ARLHS LAT-028; UZ-252; Admiralty C3547.2; NGA 12348.

Mangaļsala Beacon, Rīga, July 2014
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Yolanda Cabre
#Mangaļu (Mangaļi) Range Front
Date unknown. Inactive since about 2016. 16 m (52 ft) square skeletal tower, painted red, carrying a large slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. Trabas has Arndt's photo, and Google has a satellite view. This range guided vessels leaving Rīga. Located on the waterfront at Mangaļi. Site open, tower closed. ex-UZ-185; ex-Admiralty C3540; ex-NGA 12320.
#Mangaļu (Mangaļi) Range Rear
Date unknown. Inactive since about 2016. 22 m (72 ft) square skeletal tower, painted red, carrying a large slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. Trabas has Arndt's photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located 252 m (275 yd) northwest of the front light. Site open, tower closed. ex-UZ-186; ex-Admiralty C3540.1; ex-NGA 12324.
* [Mangaļsala Beacon (Daugava East Mole) (2)]
1998 (station established 1863). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 3 s. 7 m (24 ft) round cylindrical tower with a small gallery but no lantern, painted red. Trabas has Arndt's photo, Maxim Kukuklinsky has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the east mole at the Daugava River entrance, opposite the Daugavgrīva lighthouse. Apparently accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-031; UZ-104; Admiralty C3529; NGA 12288.

Saulkrasti Municipality Lighthouse
Ladiņi (Lilaste)
Date unknown. Inactive but still listed officially as a daybeacon. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. The upper half of the tower is partially enclosed by a slatted daymark painted with black and white horizontal bands. Köhler has a photo and Google has a satellite view. Located on a ridge northeast of Lilaste, at the southeastern corner of the Gulf of Rīga. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-024; UZ-070; ex-Admiralty C3578.

Salacgrīva Municipality Lighthouses
Lāči
1954. Inactive since 2015 but still listed officially as a daybeacon. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. Most of the tower is enclosed by a slatted daymark painted with red and white horizontal bands. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on the coast south of the village of Liepupe. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-007; UZ-045; ex-Admiralty C3583; ex-NGA 12428.
* Ķurmrags
Around 1920? Inactive. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square pyramidal stone base. A June 2005 photo is available. Now in the surf, the abandoned lighthouse is is likely to be destroyed by the sea. A November 2007 photo shows the tower leaning ominously, but Alexey Melsitov's August 2012 photo and Alex Bondarenko's 2016 photo show it still standing. Google has a satellite view. The light was in service as late as the 1980s. Located at the village of Ķurmrags on the east coast of the Gulf of Rīga about 40 km (25 mi) south of Ainaži. ex-Admiralty C3584.
* Vitrupe (Grīntāla) {Witterbeck}
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (111 ft); red flash every 4 s. 21 m (69 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with gallery and a small lantern, painted red. The tower is enclosed by a slatted daymark, painted white with a broad black band at the top. A 2007 photo and a closeup are available, Trabas has Kern's photo, and Köhler has a photo, but the tower is indistinct in Google's dark satellite view. NGA lists the light as "Grintals." Located on a headland near Vitrupe, about 25 km (15 mi) south of Ainaži. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-022; UZ-040; Admiralty C3585; NGA 12436.
Salacgrīva Light
Salacgrīva Light, Salacgrīva, August 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Marcin Szala
* Salacgrīva {Salismünd} (2)
1933 (station established 1925). Inactive since around 1970(?). 8.5 m (28 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. Marcin Szala's photo is above right, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse was probably replaced by the range lights. It was in service in 1967 but was discontinued before 1984. Located on the waterfront of Salacgrīva. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-034; ex-Admiralty C3586.
* Salacgrīva {Salismünd} Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower, painted red. The front of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. Trabas has Erich Hartmann's photo, Google has a closeup street view, and the shadow of the tower is seen in Bing's satellite view. The front light is on a 10 m (33 ft) skeletal tower 200 m (660 ft) west southwest. Salacgrīva is a port at the mouth of the Salaca (Salis) River. Located near the waterftont of Salacgrīva. Site open, tower closed. UZ-011; Admiralty C3587.1; NGA 12444.
* [Ainaži Breakwater (lantern)]
1908. Inactive at least since 1986, when the lighthouse collapsed into the sea. The lantern was salvaged, and in 1991 it was restored and mounted on display at the entrance to the Museum of the Ainaži Naval School, about 100 m (110 yd) southwest of the present lighthouse (next entry). Wikimapia has photos, Google has a good street view, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Site open, tower closed.
* Ainaži {Gainash, Hainasch} (2)
Date unknown (1930?) (station established 1920s). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 18 m (59 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with an orange vertical stripe. 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house collapsing into ruins. Ezra Nuakin's photo is at right, Ainars Dominiks has a winter 2018 photo, the Vietas guide has photos, Trabas has Kern's photo, Google has a good street view, and Bing has a satellite view. The light was originally the rear light of a range, but the front light has been discontinued. Located at the intersection of Barona and Nakotnes streets in Ainaži, a town on the east coast of the Gulf of Rīga close to the Estonian border, about 125 km (80 mi) north of Rīga. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS LAT-001; UZ-001; Admiralty C3590; NGA 12448.
Ainazi Light
Ainaži Light, Salacgrīva, July 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ezra Nuakin

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Southwestern Estonia | West: Western Latvia

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Posted April 25, 2005. Checked and revised May 5, 2018. Lighthouses: 25. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.