The Leaning Kiipsaare Lighthouse

May 30, 2022 2 comments

In the sea, off the coast of Saaremaa, Estonia, stands a slender lighthouse leaning dramatically towards the sea. When it was built in 1933 out of reinforced concrete, it stood on solid ground, more than 150 meters inland. But since then, the sea had encroached upon the coast, gradually gnawing at the shoreline until the the waves had taken the land away from the lighthouse’s foundation. The lack of stable ground has caused the lighthouse to lean as it stands engulfed by the Baltic Sea, more than 50 meters from the shore.

Kiipsaare Lighthouse

Photo: Abrget47j/Wikimedia

The 25-meter lighthouse was originally built to warn mariners on the Baltic Sea about the dangers in the vicinity of the peninsula and to be of assistance in taking bearings. But in the early 1990s, the sea had already reached the lighthouse and it started to incline. Believing that the lighthouse would soon fall to the sea, its light was removed. However, the lighthouse stood miraculously erect despite the pronounced lean. From 1992 to 2009 the lighthouse functioned as a daymark, but is no more used as a navigational aid.

At one time, the lighthouse leaned 15 degrees out of line. But the shifting waves and sand have reversed the process that had caused the lighthouse to lean. The beacon is now significantly straighter than it was in the past.

Kiipsaare Lighthouse

The Kiipsaare Lighthouse in 2005 was closer to the coast. Photo: Jordi Escuer/Flickr

Kiipsaare Lighthouse

Photo: Kaidi Liivas/Flickr


  1. Great that you are using metric measurements so that 95% of the world's people aren't left baffled, but could you spell the word metre as metre, as the word meter is a measuring device, as in an electric power meter or a speed-o-meter, whilst metre is a universal unit of measure.

  2. Britannica says that both spellings are correct:


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