Lighthouses of Russia: Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov

Through its outlet to the Mediterranean, the Black Sea has long provided a southern maritime connection for Russia. However, the history of Russia's control of the Black Sea coast is complex. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 the Russian Black Sea coast is now in two sections separated by the Kerch Strait. Between the two sections, the Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea to the much smaller basin of the Sea of Azov. At the northeastern corner of the Sea of Azov, Taganrog Bay extends eastward to the delta of the Don River. This page includes lighthouses on the east side of the Kerch Strait and on the Sea of Azov and Taganrog Bay.

The principal port in this region has been Taganrog city on Taganrog Bay, but another major port is under development at Taman at the eastern entrance to the Kerch Strait. In addition, from Taganrog Bay there is an important connection through the lower Don River and the Volga-Don Canal to Russia's vast inland waterway system.

In the Soviet Union, all lighthouses were closed to foreign visitors. Since the breakup of the Soviet empire, conditions have become much more free, and most of the lighthouses in this region are accessible to visitors. Some of the towers may be open, and better information on accessibility is needed. Photos and visitor reports would be welcome.

Russian lighthouses are owned and operated by the Russian Navy, although some of them have civilian keepers. The Russian word for a lighthouse is mayak (маяк); mys (мыс) is a cape and ostrov (остров) is an island.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. RU numbers, where available, are from the Russian Black Sea light list (publication 2217). Admiralty numbers are from volume N of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals and U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Lighthouses in Krasnodar Krai
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Black Sea Coast of Russia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Online List of Lights - Black Sea - Russia
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Russische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Taganrog Light
Taganrog Light, Taganrog, January 2012
Panoramio photo copyright alexey65536; used by permission

Krasnodar Krai Lighthouses

Note: Krasnodar Krai (Krasnodar Territory) is a large member of the Russian Federation including the western end of the Caucasus Mountains and the mountainous region along the Black Sea coast known historically as Circassia. This area was added to Russia in a long series of conflicts ending in 1864. Russian lighthouses of the Black Sea coast in Krasnodar Krai are described on the Eastern Black Sea page.

Temryuksky District: Taman Peninsula Lighthouses
Note: The Taman Peninsula is bordered by the Black Sea on the south, the Kerch Strait on the west, and Taman Bay, a broad but shallow inlet of the Kerch Strait, on the north.
Yantarnyy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located atop a bluff about 15 km (9 mi) east of the entrance to the Kerch Strait. Site status unknown. Admiralty N5616.5.
Mys Zheleznyy Rog
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 72 m (236 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 16 m (52 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black, with gallery and a small lantern. The tower also carries a black trapezoidal slatted daymark. Google has a good street view and a satellite view. This light marks the entrance to the Kerch Strait for vessels westbound along the Black Sea coast. Located on a promontory near Volna, about 8 km (5 mi) east of the entrance to the Kerch Strait. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-310, Admiralty N5616; NGA 18436.
Port Taman Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 m (8 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the new Taman port. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5615.71.
* [Mys Panagiya]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 72 m (236 ft); red flash every 5 s. 8 m (26 ft) robust steel post painted red. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located atop Cape Panagiya, the east entrance to the Kerch Strait. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5615; NGA 18440.
* Taman (Tamamskiy)
Date unknown. Appears abandoned. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. Google has a street view, but the light is inconspicuous in Google's satellite view. Located on a bluff above the waterfront in Taman, a former fishing port on the south coast of Taman Bay. Site appears open, tower closed. Admiralty N5611.
* Sennaya Range Rear
Date unknown. Appears abandoned, but listed with focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous red light. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower, painted black. Serzh Muzafarov has a photo, and Google has a street view, but the light is inconspicuous in Google's satellite view. The range guides (or guided) vessels to Sennoi, a town at the east end of Taman Bay; the bay is a shallow inlet on the east side of Kerch Strait extending east about 16 km (10 mi). Located in Mira Street in Sennoi. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5377.11.

Temryuksky District: Kerch Strait Lighthouses
(see also Crimea)
Note: The Kerch Strait is the narrow passage connecting the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea. From 1991 to 2014 the strait formed part of the border between Ukraine and Russia, but since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 the strait is entirely Russian. The strait is about 65 km (40 mi) long and narrows to about 4500 m (2.8 mi) wide at its narrowest point. In its natural condition the strait is too shallow for modern vessels, but a dredged channel called the Kerch-Yenikale Canal allows ships with a draft of up to 8 m (26 ft) to navigate the strait. Russia is building the Crimean Bridge to connect Crimea to the Russian mainland; the road portion of the bridge opened in May 2018 and the rail portion is scheduled to open in 2019. At 18.1 km (11.2 mi) it is the longest bridge in both Russia and Europe.
Chuska (Chushkinskiy) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); continuous red light, intensified on the range line. 24 m (79 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Lightphotos.net has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides southbound vessels leaving the Sea of Azov and entering Kerch Strait. Located on a long sand spit southwest of Chuska and 370 m (1/4 mi) south of the front light. Probably accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-028; Admiralty N5378.1; NGA 18559.
* Chuska (Chushkinskiy) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous red light, intensified on the range line. 18 m (59 ft) square masonry tower with an octagonal masonry lantern room and gallery. Lighthouse painted white. The light is shown through a window halfway up the tower. A. Glebov's photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has a closeup photo, another closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides southbound vessels leaving the Sea of Azov and entering Kerch Strait. It is located on a long sand spit southwest of Chuska. Site status unknown; there should be a view of this lighthouse from ferries crossing the strait from Port Kavkas to Kerch. ARLHS ERU-027; Admiralty N5378; NGA 18558.
Port Kavkaz Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous green light visible only on the range line. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted black; lantern is gray. Lightphotos.net has a photo of both range lights, Google has a satellite view. Located on the waterfront at Port Kavkaz, a ferry port north of Chuska. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5425.
Port Kavkaz Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); continuous green light visible only on the range line. 19 m (62 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted black; lantern is gray. Lightphotos.net has a photo of both range lights, Google has a satellite view. Located about 400 m (1/4 ft) southeast of the front light. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5425.

Chuska Range Front Light, Port Kavkas, July 2015
Panoramio photo copyright A. Glebov; permission requested
* Tamanskiy Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (69 ft); white flash every 3 s. 21 m (69 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. The tower carries a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. Google has a street view and a satellite view. This range guides vessels northbound through the narrow northern section of the strait. Located beside the M25 highway on the long Chuska spit about 8 km (5 mi) north of Chuska. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5376; NGA 18552.
* Tamanskiy Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); continuous white light. 43 m (141 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. The tower carries a slatted daymark painted black with a red vertical stripe. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located beside the M25 highway about 4 km (2.5 mi) east of Il'ich and 7 km (4.5 mi) northeast of the front light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5376.1; NGA 18556.
* Akhilleon (Akhileon, Akhileonskiy)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 m (207 ft); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black, with a small red lantern. Google has a street view and a satellite view. This light marks the northeastern entrance to the strait. Located on a headland about 1.5 km (1 mi) northeast of Il'ich. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-312; Admiralty N5428; NGA 18936.
* Temryuk (Tyemryuk, Tjemruk) (2)
1982 (station established 1916). Active; focal plane 69 m (226 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 1.5 s on, 6 s off. 14 m (46 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A distant view is available, Huelse has a postage stamp image, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse is close to the coastal highway, but it is not easy to spot from a moving vehicle; for this reason photos are scarce. Located atop dunes on the southeast side of the Sea of Azov about 13 km (8 mi) west northwest of Temryuk and 32 km (20 mi) east of the Kerch Strait entrance. Site appears open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-068; Admiralty N5606; NGA 18928.
Port Temryuk Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) tower carrying a slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. This light is visible at the water's edge in an aerial photo (1/3 the way down the page) of the port, and Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the rear of the dredged harbor of Port Temryuk, about 12 km (7.5 mi) east of the Temryuk lighthouse. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5601.
Port Temryuk Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 22 m (72 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 22 m (72 ft) tower carrying a slatted daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. Google has a very distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located about 1 km (0.6 mi) southeast of the front light. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5601.1.

Slavyansky District Lighthouse
Achuyev (Achuyevskiy)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) iron skeletal tower "with hut," according to the NGA listing. Lighthouse painted black. No photo available, but the shadow of the tower is visible in Bing's satellite view. Located on the south side of the entrance to Sladkiy Bay, a lagoon on the southeastern shore of the Sea of Azov, near Sladkovskiy. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-321; Admiralty N5594; NGA 18904.

Primorsko-Akhtarsk District Lighthouse
* Akhtarskiy (Primorko-Akhtarsk) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1912). Inactive. 20 m (66 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. Large keeper's house and other light station buildings. A photo is at right, Nick Mamashin has a 2016 photo, Roman Belyy has a photo, Maksim Bobylev has a drone view, and Google has a good satellite view of the station. Endangered. The lighthouse is in poor condition, and the active light (focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 4.5 s off) has been moved to a skeletal mast. The first lighthouse had a focal plane of 17 m (56 ft). Located behind the beach about 6 km (4.5 mi) north of Primorko-Akhtarsk, on the central east coast of the Sea of Azov. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-010; Admiralty N5586; NGA 18896.

Yeysky District Lighthouses
Kamyshevatskaya (Kamyshevatskiy) (?)
2008 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white flash every 13 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse was reported destroyed or demolished in 2007, and no photos of it have been found. Located on a seaside bluff at Kamyshevatskaya on the northeast shore of the Sea of Azov. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-322; Admiralty N5578; NGA 18880.
Sazal'Nikskiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 70 m (230 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. A very distant view is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on steep bluff at Shabelskoye, a village on the south side of the Gulf of Taganrog about 35 km (22 mi) northeast of Yeysk. Site appers open, tower closed. Admiralty N5524.
Akhtarskiy Light
Akhtarskiy Light, Primorsko-Akhtarsk, 2010
Panoramio photo copyright kar2zz; permission requested

Rostov Oblast Lighthouses

Azovsky District (Don River Entrance) Lighthouses
Note: The Don River is an important inland waterway of Russia, and it is connected to the Volga River via the Volga-Don Canal. Lighthouses of the river and canal are described on the Volga and Don Waterways page.
Don River Approach Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); quick-flashing red light. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical tower with gallery and a small lantern. Tower painted black, lantern red. The tower also carries a slatted daymark painted black with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the location. Located on a small island off the southern end of the Don delta, at the east end of the Gulf of Taganrog, about 20 km (13 mi) southeast of Taganrog and a similar distance downstream from the city of Azov. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5535.
Don River Approach Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); quick-flashing white light. 22 m (72 ft) square cylindrical tower with gallery and a small lantern. Tower painted black, lantern red. The tower also carries a slatted daymark painted black with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the location. Located on a small island about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) east northeast of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5535.1.
Don River Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); quick-flashing red light. 16 m (52 ft) square cylindrical tower with gallery and a small lantern. Tower painted black, lantern red. The tower also carries a slatted daymark painted black with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but the shadow of the tower is seen in Bing's satellite view. Located on the north side of the river about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) from the Gulf of Taganrog. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5536.
Don River Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); quick-flashing white light. 27 m (89 ft) square cylindrical tower with gallery and a small lantern. Tower painted black, lantern red. The tower also carries a slatted daymark painted black with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the south side of the river about 2 km (1.25 mi) east northeast of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5536.1.

Taganrog City and Neklinovsky District Lighthouses
* Taganrog (2)
Date unknown (station established 1885). Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); white light, 1.5 s on,1.5 s off. 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical tower with gallery. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. A 2012 closeup is at the top of this page, Artuzik Artuzyan has a 2017 photo, a 2016 photo is available, and the tower is visible in a Google street view and the center of a Google satellite view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse, which probably did not survive World War II. Lightphotos.net has another historic photo. The range is the entrance range for Taganrog's protected harbor. Taganrog is on the north side of Taganrog Bay (Taganrogskiy Zaliv), the lower estuary of the Don River, at the extreme northeastern corner of the Sea of Azov. Located in a park-like area on a bluff behind the port area in Taganrog. Site appears open, tower probably closed. ARLHS ERU-067; Admiralty N5540.
Taganrog Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This is a final approach range for Taganrog harbor. Located on the north breakwater at Taganrog. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5542.
Taganrog Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 22 m (72 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the north quay at Taganrog, about 200 m (220 yd) north of the rear light. Site and tower closed. Admiralty N5542.1.
* Beglitskaya Kosa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); red flash every 6 s. 18 m (56 ft) square cylindrical tower with gallery and a small lantern. Lighthouse painted red, and a red slatted daymark covers the upper 2/3 of two sides of the tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The light station replaced a lightship station established in 1845. Located at the end of a sand spit extending into the Gulf of Taganrog at Beglitsa, about 25 km (15 mi) west of the city of Taganrog. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty N5526.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Volga and Don | Southeast: Eastern Black Sea | Southwest: Crimea | Northwest: Ukraine Sea of Azov

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Posted February 26, 2007. Checked and revised June 24, 2018. Lighthouses: 28. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.