Lighthouses of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, a large country of central Asia, was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union until 1991. At its western end Kazakhstan borders the northeastern quadrant of the landlocked Caspian Sea, the world's largest lake. There are several lighthouses on the lake, but since they are not listed by international light lists not much is known about them. Further information, especially photos, would be welcome.

The principal Kazakh ports are Atyrau (formerly Guryev), at the mouth of the Zhayyq (Ural) River near the north end of the Caspian, and Aqtau (formerly Shevchenko) on the Mangyshlak Peninsula opposite Makhachkala in Russian Dagestan.

Lighthouses in Kazakhstan are maintained by the Hydrographic Service within the Ministry of Defense. According to, the Hydrographic Service operates five lighthouses. A December 2014 article from identifies these lighthouses as Mys Peschannyy, Melovoy (Aqtau), Kyzyl-Ozen, and the two Tupkaragan lights. Other lights in the country are assumed to be inactive.

The Russian word for a lighthouse, mayak (маяк), is commonly used in Kazakhstan, although there is also a Kazakh word bağdarşırak (бағдаршырақ). (The use of Cyrillic script has continued from Soviet times, although some Kazakhs would prefer to use a Latin script similar to that of Turkish.) Mwyis is a cape and aral is an island.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights.

General Sources
Kazakh Lighthouses
This Russian-language article by Elena Kalinina (no longer online, unfortunately) had valuable information on the history of the historic lighthouses.
World of Lighthouses - Kazakhstan
Photos by various photographers available from
Lighthouses in Kazakhstan
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Lighthouses of the USSR - Caspian Sea
Nothing here yet, but hopefully this webmaster will be adding information on the lighthouses.
Tyub-Karagan Light
Tupkaragan (Tyub-Karagan) Upper Light
undated photo from
Karakiya District Lighthouses
Fetisovo (Kendirlinskiy)
Date unknown. Inactive. 7 m (23 ft) skeletal mast mounted on a square stone pyramid. Two adjoining 1-story buildings. No photo available but Google has a satellite view of the station. Located at the tip of a sand spit enclosing the lagoon of Fetisovo. Site status unknown. ARLHS KAZ-001.
Mys Rakushechnyy
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal stone tower. No photo available. has an article that mentions an "old lighthouse" on the cape and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a prominent cape about 65 km (40 mi) southeast of Yeraliyev. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS KAZ-002.
Kuryk Range Rear
Date unknown (recent). Active; light characteristic unknown. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal mast carrying a large rectangular daymark painted white with a black vertical stripe. has a distant view but the tower has not been found in Google's satellite view. The front light is on a shorter tower at the water's edge. Kuryk is a new port for shipping crude oil from the Kashagan field across the Caspian to Baku, Azerbaijan. Site status unknown.
Eralievo (Yeraliyev, Mys Zhilandy)
Date unknown. Inactive (?). Square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a large slatted daymark. Aleksandr Serednyuk has a very distant view and Google has a satellite view. Located atop a steep bluff at Mys Zhilandy, a headland about 8 km (5 mi) south of Eralievo (Yeraliyev). Site status unknown. ARLHS KAZ-003.

Munaily District Lighthouses
* Mys Peschannyy
1954. Active; light characteristic unknown. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. The station includes several buildings and a communications tower. Bolat Mukhambetov's photo is at right, another photo is available, and Google has a good satellite view. The lighthouse marks Mys Peschannyy (Sandy Cape), a very prominent cape about 40 km (25 mi) south of Aqtau. Located about 1.2 km (3/4 mi) east of the beach and about 4 km (2.5 mi) north of the point of the cape. This area is slated for development of an oil terminal, where oil from Central Asia will be shipped across the Caspian. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS KAZ-004.
Mys Peschanny Light
Mys Peschanny Light, 2009
ex-Panoramio photo copyright Bolat Mukhambetov
permisson requested
* Aqtau (Aktau, Shevchenko, Melovoy) (2)
1974 (station established 1948). Active; focal plane 71 m (233 ft); one white flash followed by one red flash every 26 s. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery centered atop a 12-story apartment building; the total height is 43 m (141 ft). Light tower painted white with one black horizontal band; lantern painted black (formerly red). Pedro Loza's photo appears at right, Anastassiya Lukyanova has a closeup of the light tower, Wikimedia has a good view from the sea, has a good photo as well as Eduard Sarkisov's view from the sea, Vladimir Kozlovskiy has a distant street view, and the building appears on a Google satellite view. Lukyanova says that the light has a keeper who lives in a flat on the top floor of the building. Aqtau (formerly called Shevchenko) is Kazakhstan's principal port on the Caspian Sea and the site of former Soviet nuclear and chemical plants. Ferries carry rail traffic across the Caspian between Aqtau and Makhachkala on the Russian coast. This is the landfall light for the port. The original light was on a 7.5 m (25 ft) tower close to the water. Located in Aqtau on a promontory about 5 km (3 mi) northwest of the ferry port. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS KAZ-005.

Tupkaragan District Lighthouses
[Maykin Kugran]
Date unknown. Inactive. 6 m (20 ft) square solid stone tower. No photo available but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a steep promontory about 65 km (40 mi) north of Aqtau. Site open. ARLHS KAZ-007.
[Kyzyl-Ozen (Kyzylozen, Shugla)]
Date unknown (station established around 1900). Active (?). 7 m (23 ft) steel post. A photo is available (nearly halfway down the page). Google's satellite view of the village does not show the light. A more substantial skeletal tower nearby is said to be an observation tower, but we need more information on this station, which is mentioned briefly by Kalinina. Located about 90 km (55 mi) northeast of Aqtau on the south side of the Tupkaragan Peninsula. Site open, tower closed.

Aqtau Light
Aqtau (Aktau) Light, October 2007
Flickr photo copyright Pedro Loza; used by permission

* Tupkaragan (Tyub-Karagan, Mys Tyub-Karagan) Lower (Bautino)
1863. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); continuous red light visible only on and near the range line. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) lantern centered at the peak of a round brick building with a conical metal roof. Building painted white, lantern green. A photo is at right, another closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located in downtown Bautino, the port district of Fort Shevchenko. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS KAZ-008.
* Tupkaragan (Tyub-Karagan, Mys Tyub-Karagan) Upper (2)
1863 (station established 1851). Active; light characteristic unknown. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted black. Clamshell Fresnel lens in use. A photo appears at the top of this page and the light station can be seen in a Google satellite view. The first lighthouse was built too close to the cliff; it collapsed after a few years. In recent years the lighthouse has been the rear light of a northbound range. This lighthouse is near the westernmost point of Kazakhstan, on the Tupkaragan Peninsula projecting into the northeastern Caspian Sea. Located about 4 km (2.5 mi) south of the northwest point of the peninsula and about 10 km (6 mi) north of Fort Shevchenko. Site status unknown, probably open; tower closed. ARLHS KAZ-009.
Kulaly Aral (Ostrov Kulaly) (?)
Date unknown. Inactive. No photo available, but a Bing satellite view shows the station. Kulaly, the largest and westernmost of the Tyuleniy Islands, is a 25 km (15 mi) long, curving sandbar of an island located about 13 km (8 mi) northwest of the Tupkaragan Peninsula. According to Wikipedia, the island has "a meteorological station with a lighthouse and a Kazakh border guard post." However, the available photos do not reveal a light. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.

Tupkaragan (Tyub-Karagan) Lower Light photo

Zhygylgan (Zhigylganskiy)
Date unknown. Inactive; previously listed with focal plane 170 m (558 ft); white flash every 7 s. 7 m (23 ft) square pyramidal stone tower, painted white. The tower has not been located in Google's fuzzy satellite view. Located on a promontory at Zhygylgan, on the north side of the Tupkaragan Peninsula. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS KAZ-010.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: South: Turkmenistan | West: Russian Caspian Sea

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted March 12, 2007. Checked and revised May 15, 2019. Lighthouses: 10. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.