Lighthouses of Russia: Northwestern White Sea

The northwestern corner of Russia lies on the Barents Sea, an arm of the Arctic Ocean. The broad, eastward-pointing Kola Peninsula (Kolskiy Poluostrov) separates the Barents Sea from the nearly-enclosed White Sea, which extends southward more than 500 km (300 mi). Arkhangel'sk, located at the southeasternmost point of the White Sea, became Russia's chief port under Ivan the Terrible in the mid 1500s and there has been a lively trade between Western Europe and Arkhangel'sk through these northern waters for almost 500 years.

It may come as a surprise to lighthouse fans to learn that there are many lighthouses along these Arctic waterways, including more than a few nineteenth century towers built under the tsars. These lighthouses are surely among the most poorly known in the world. Under the Soviets almost none of them were accessible to Westerners and even today many areas in the Russian North are restricted. But cruise ships are beginning to visit these waters so conditions for visiting the lighthouses may be improving.

This page lists includes lighthouses on the northwestern coasts of the White Sea in the Tersky and Kandalakshsky Districts of Murmansk Oblast and in the autonomous Republic of Karelia. The lighthouse descriptions given are from the U.S. NGA List unless photos are available. Special thanks to Michel Forand for locating many of the photo links on this page and sharing data from the Admiralty List of Lights. However, we still need photos of many sites. If you have any photos of lighthouses in this area, or spot any such photos on the Internet, please let me know.

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. Russian light list (RU) numbers are from Russian Navy Publication 2105, as reported by the Admiralty. Admiralty numbers are from volume L of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 115. The Russian light list, Огни и знаки (Lights and Signs), is not available online.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Russia - Arctic Sea Coast
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - Arctic Coast of Russia
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
White Sea Lighthouses in Russia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.com.
Russische Leuchttürme auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Kashkarantsy Light, Kashkarantsy, undated
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Krytsyn Vlad

Murmansk Oblast: Tersky District Lighthouses

Kola Peninsula South Coast Lighthouses
Pulon'ga
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 7 s. 13 m (43 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, covered by a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe on each face. Lightphotos.net has Alexey Vukolov's closeup photo and distant view but Google has only a distant satellite view of the area. This light marks the narrowest passage of the White Sea Throat. Located on a headland about 3 km (2 mi) east of the mouth of the Pulon'ga River on the southeast coast of the Kola Peninsula. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-269; Admiralty L6590; RU 2105-3410; NGA 15532.
Mys Nikodimskiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 27 m (89 ft) octagonal pyramidal tower, covered with wood siding, with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted with black and white vertical stripes; lantern painted red. Fog horn (three blasts every 30 s). The EDM Company restored the lighthouse in 2006. Lightphotos.net has a closeup photo and Google has EDM's photo, but Google has only a very distant satellite view of the cape. This light marks the west side of the southern entrance to the White Sea Throat. Located on a headland on the south side of the Kola Peninsula about 40 km (25 mi) east of Tetrino. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-262; Admiralty L6596; RU 2105-3435; NGA 15544.
Kashkarantsy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 24 m (79 ft) concrete tower with lantern and a small gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Wikimedia has several photos including Krytsyn Vlad's photo at the top of this page, Lightphotos.net has Oleg Filonok's closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. Vitaly Telegin's photo shows the lighthouse freshly painted in September 2015. This lighthouse marks the north side of the entrance to Kandalaksha Bay. Located on the south side of the Kola Peninsula at Kashkarantsy, about 25 km (15 mi) west of Varzuga. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-038; Admiralty L6610; RU 2105-5425; NGA 15576.
Kuzreka
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) square pyramidal tower carrying a daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. No photo available and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the location. Location at the entrance to Kuzreka, a small port near Umba. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6612; NGA 15588.

Kandalaksha Bay Lighthouses
Note: Kandalaksha Bay, the narrow northwest-pointing arm of the White Sea, leads to the port of Kandalaksha, a historic town settled as early as the 11th century. In recent years the population of Kandalaksha has dwindled to about 35,000.
Mys Turiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (128 ft); white flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) pyramidal tower with black and white diagonal stripes. No photo available and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the cape. Located on a prominent headland on the north side of lower Kandalaksha Bay. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6614; RU 2105-5795; NGA 15724.
Ostrov Vol'ostrov
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 67 m (220 ft); white flash every 4 s. 16 m (52 ft) square wood skeletal pyramid partially enclosed with horizontal slats. Wikimapia has two photos but the tower is not seen in Google's indistinct satellite view. Located on the highest point of an island about 15 km (9 mi) northwest of Mys Turiy. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty L6616; RU 2105-5800; NGA 15720.
Ostrov Nablyundeniya (2)
2008. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous yellow light. 7 m (23 ft) square pyramidal tower, painted red. Andrey Vyborny has a view from the sea and Google has an indistinct satellite view. NGA formerly described this light as a "white house, red roof, and lantern gallery, mast in front." Located on an island marking the entrance to the bay leading to Umba, on the north shore of the estuary. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6618; RU 2105-5817; NGA 15716.
Ostrova Stolbovyye Ludy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); red flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) pyramidal tower, painted black. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a skerry in the entrance to Por'ya Guba, a bay on the north side of Kandalaksha Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6624; RU 2105-5850; NGA 15644.
Ostrov Sredniye Ludy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. The upper half of the tower is surrounded by a round vertically slatted daymark. The daymark is supposed to be painted white with a red horizontal band, but in Serge Gorbartov's 2006 photo at right all the paint has worn off the wood. Wikimapia has a photo of the base of the tower with a former lantern sitting beside it but the island is barely visible in Google's satellite view. Located on an island in the middle of the lower end of Kandalaksha Bay. Accessible only by boat. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6682; RU 2105-5600; NGA 15692.
Mys Kochinnyy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) gray tower with a white lantern. No photo available and Google has only a very distant satellite view of the area. Located on a headland on the north side of the estuary about 60 km (37 mi) southeast of Kandalaksha, marking a point where the estuary narrows sharply. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-246; Admiralty L6630; RU 2105-5880; NGA 15636.
Ostrova Rezanovy Ludy (2)
2011 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 4 s. 17 m (56 ft) round metal tower, painted white with a brown horizontal band. No photo available and the tower is not seen in Bing's fuzzy satellite view. The earlier light was a 13 m (43 ft) "truncated pyramid," white with a red vertical stripe. Located at the southeast end of an island off the north shore of the bay opposite Lesozavodskiy. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-270; Admiralty L6632; RU 2105-5890; NGA 15632.
Ostrov Sredniye Ludy Light
Ostrov Sredniye Ludy Light, Kandalaksha Bay, May 2006
Panoramio photo copyright Serge Gorbartov; permission requested

Murmansk Oblast: Kandalakshsky District Lighthouse

Ostrov Kibirinskiy (Kibirinskiye Ludy) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 2 s. 13 m (43 ft) yellow wooden tower with a black lantern carrying a white daymark with a red vertical stripe. No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on an island about 20 km (13 mi) southeast of Kandalaksha. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6636; NGA 15620.
Ostrov Kibirinskiy (Kibirinskiye Ludy) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); flash every 5 s, white or red depending on direction. 17 m (56 ft) yellow wooden tower with a black lantern carrying a white daymark with a red vertical stripe. No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on an island about 20 km (13 mi) southeast of Kandalaksha. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-163; Admiralty L6636.1; RU 2105-5911; NGA 15624.
Krestovyy Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); quick-flashing white light. 16 m (52 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower; the front face is covered by a white daymark with a red vertical stripe. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located on Ostrov Bol'shoy Berezovyy, a forested island about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of Kandalaksha. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6643; NGA 15600.
Krestovyy Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 64 m (210 ft); white light, 1.5 s on, 1.5 s off. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower; the front face is covered by a white daymark with a red vertical stripe. No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a hillside on the mainland 2.8 km (1.75 mi) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-045; Admiralty L6643.1; NGA 15604.
Kandalaksha Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 30 m (98 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a slatted daymark painted white with a black (?) vertical stripe. Lightphotos.net has Konstantin Sushko's distant view from the sea and Bing has a satellite view. Located on an island about 3 km (2 mi) off the Kandalaksha waterfront. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6645.1.
Ostrov Sedlovatyy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower covered with a slatted daymark painted white. Lightphotos.net has Dimitry Lobusov's view from the sea and Bing has a satellite view. Located on an island on the south side of Kandalaksha Bay about 25 km (15 mi) south of Kandalaksha. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-118; Admiralty L6652.
Ostrov Drestnoy Baklysh
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower covered with a slatted daymark painted with red and white horizontal bands. Lightphotos.net has Dimitry Lobusov's view from the sea but the tower is inconspicuous in Bing's satellite view. Located on a skerry on the south side of Kandalaksha Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS ERU-239; Admiralty L6666; RU 2105-5715; NGA 15628.
Mys Titov
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and light characteristic unknown. No description available but Google's satellite view reveals a tower, probably concrete, probably at least 10 m (33 ft) tall. Located on a sharp cape on the south side of Kandalaksha Bay. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6676.

Republic of Karelia Lighthouses

Note: The Republic of Karelia, one of the units of the Russian Federation, is bordered by Finland to the west. Kem and Belomorsk are the most important ports on the Karelian coast of the White Sea. The White Sea-Baltic Canal (Belomorsko-Baltiyskiy Kanal or BBK) leads from Belomorsk through Lakes Onega and Ladoga to St. Petersburg, thus joining the White Sea and the Baltic Sea. Additional Karelian lighthouses are listed on the pages for Lake Onega and Lake Ladoga.

Loukhsky District Lighthouses
Ostrov Asafly
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); two white flashes every 14 s. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted black. The upper third of the tower carries a slatted daymark painted red with a yellow horizontal band. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on an island of the Kem'-Ludy group, on the south side of the entrance to Kandalaksha Bay, near Karelia's northern border. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-242; RU-5495; Admiralty L6688; NGA 15732.
Mys Sharapov
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 58 m (190 ft); white flash every 14.5 s. 5 m (17 ft) round solid concrete tower on a square stone base; access to the light is by a stone stairway. The lantern is red. A photo is available but the small structure is barely visible in Bing's satellite view of the cape. Despite its diminutive size, this is considered a major light. Located on a prominent cape at the southern entrance to Kandalaksha Bay, about 30 km (20 mi) southeast of Ostrov Asafly. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-277; RU-5455; Admiralty L6694; NGA 15740.

Kemsky District Lighthouses
Note: Kem (Kemi in Karelian) is a historic town, founded with the building of a fort in 1657. The population is about 13,000.
Ostrov Nakhkonitsa
Date unknown (station established 1916). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) gray concrete tower with a red lantern. Bing has a satellite view. Located on a rock marking the south side of the entrance to Kandalaksha Bay on the west side of the White Sea. RU-5370; Admiralty L6706; NGA 15748.
Ostrov Samba-Luda (Sambaluda)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 3 s. 8 m (26 ft) square pyramidal solid concrete tower with gallery. Access to the light is by an external ladder. A photo and more distant view are available and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of the Nakhonitsa lighthouse. RU-5360; Admiralty L6712; NGA 15752.
#Rombakskiy (Ostrov Yuzhniy Rombak)
1910. Destroyed by fire sometime in 2014-15. This was a 9 m (30 ft) square cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the front of a 1-story wood keeper's house. House painted bright yellow with a red roof and red trim; the lantern dome painted white. A 2008 view from the sea is at right and a large portfolio has a good photo. Huelse has a historic postcard photo. In 2005 the keeper and his wife were found dead, apparently as a murder-suicide. The lighthouse was restored in 2007 or 2008. It was destaffed in 2011 and burned sometime during the winter of 2014-15. Lightphotos.net has Yuri Matseevskii's photo of the ruins and Bing has a satellite view. Located on an island about 20 km (13 mi) east of Kem; the lighthouse should be visible from ferries between Kem' and Solovetskiy Island (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS ERU-149; RU-5170; Admiralty L6730; NGA 15760.
Topy
Date unknown (station established 1916). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); flash every 3 s, white or red depending on direction. 20 m (66 ft) concrete (?) tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse was painted black and the lantern red. An undated closeup photo shows that much of the paint had flaked off the tower. Lightphotos.net has a photo by Oleg Shvets, another photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse marks a small group of dangerous rocky islands in the middle of the passage between Solovetskiy Island and the western shore of Onega Bay. Located about 15 km (9 mi) west of Solovetskiy. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS ERU-281; RU-4485; Admiralty L6784; NGA 15832.
Ostrov Rovnyazhiy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); flash every 2 s, white or red depending on direction. 7 m (23 ft) square wood skeletal tower covered with a slatted daymark. Light lists say the daymark is yellow but it appears white in an available photo. Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a tiny island in Onega Bay halfway between the Toby and Zhuzhmuyskiy lighthouses. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS ERU-167; RU-5135; Admiralty L6800; NGA 15836.
Rombakskiy Light
Rombakskiy Light, Kem', August 2008 (now lost)
ex-Panoramio photo copyright Dm!try_S; permission requested

Belomorsky District Lighthouses
Note: Located on the west side of Onega Bay, Belomorsk is a port built in the 1930s at the northern end of the White Sea-Baltic Canal. Its name means "White Sea" in Russian.
Zhuzhmuysky (Ostrov Bol'shoy Zhuzhmuy)
1871. Active; focal plane 59 m (194 ft); four long (3 s) white flashes every 30 s. 26 m (85 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with central cylinder, lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted red, lantern roof green. Several keeper's houses and other station buildings. A photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has Yuri Matseevskii's photo, and Bing has a satellite view of the station. This lighthouse was prefabricated in France by Barbier, Bénard & Turenne; a photo of the builder's plate is available (about 1/3 the way down the page). Huelse has a historic postcard photo. The lighthouse was originally installed at the eastern tip of Ostrov Bolshoy Zhuzhmuysky, but sometime before 1920 it was relocated westward to a higher location on the island. Located at the highest point of Ostrov Bol'shoy Zhuzhmuysky, the larger of the Zhuzhmuy Islands about 35 km (22 mi) south of Solovetskiy and a similar distance east of Belomorsk. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-133; RU-5090; Admiralty L6804; NGA 15844.
Ostrov Malyy Zhuzhmuy
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); white flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with a slatted daymark painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available but Bing has a fuzzy satellite view. Located at the southeast end of Malyy Zhuzhmuy, a smaller island southeast of Bol'shoy Zhuzhmuy. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6806; NGA 15848.
Belomorsk Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); continuous red light. 9 m (30 ft) square metal tower carrying a slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located north of the wharves of Belomorsk. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6816; NGA 15852.
Belomorsk Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); continuous red light. 13 m (43 ft) square wood tower carrying a slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. No photo available but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located in a warehouse area on the east side of the main railroad yard on the north side of Belomorsk. Site status unknown. Admiralty L6816.1; NGA 15856.
Ostrov Osinka
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal wood skeletal tower. A closeup photo (note the person standing on the gallery) is available and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island at the southern end of Onega Bay, about 25 km (15 mi) east of Belomorsk. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ERU-078; RU-5000; Admiralty L6832; NGA 15872.
Zhuzhmuysky Light
Zhuzhmuysky (Ostrov Bolshoy) Light, Onega Bay, July 2012
ex-Panoramio photo copyright Peter V.; permission requested
Ostrov Salma-Luda
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); green flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) "pyramid," form unknown. No photo available and Bing has only a fuzzy satellite view. Located on a small island at the southern end of Onega Bay, about 25 km (15 mi) east of Ostrov Osinka. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. RU-4980; Admiralty L6836; NGA 15888.
Ostrov Tit-Luda
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower painted white. No photo available but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a small island at the southern end of Onega Bay, about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Ostrov Salma-Luda. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. RU-4955; Admiralty L6838; NGA 15880.
Ostrov Perkhluda
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 3 s. 7 m (23 ft) square pyramidal wood skeletal tower. The tower is enclosed by a slatted daymark that is supposed to be painted white with a black vertical stripe. No photo available but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the eastern tip of Perkhluda, an island in the southern end of Onega Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. RU-4945; Admiralty L6840; NGA 15884.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Kola Peninsula | South: Southern White Sea

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Posted December 7, 2005. Checked and revised September 30, 2019. Lighthouses: 34. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.