September 10, 2017

3146 POLAND (Pomerania) - Hel Lighthouse

Situated at the eastern tip of the Hel peninsula, Hel Lighthouse guides ship traffic into Gdańsk Bay and the Bay of Puck. It has its origins in the 16th century when a fire was lit on the church tower at a height of 35m to guide ships. The structure burned down. In 1638 locals asked Gdańsk authorities to build a lighthouse on the peninsula. After deliberation, a wooden structure was erected circa 1640, with a range of about 6 miles. In 1667 it burned down, too. The construction of the first brick lighthouse (which was 41.7m high) started in 1806, but due to civil wars the effort dragged on until 1826.

The brick lighthouse wasn't high enough and ships continued to sink between Jastarnia and Hel. A cannon was placed at the lighthouse, fired every four minutes, as a sound signal. This continued until the gunner died in 1910. A stone commemorates the event to this day. More improvements followed. The light source switched to a paraffin lamp and the structure was renovated. Electric light was installed in 1938 in the form of a 3000 watt bulb. In 1939 the lighthouse was blown up by the divisions of the Polish army defending the Hel Peninsula.

The present day lighthouse with an octagonal red brick tower was built in 1942. It is 41.5m tall and on a clear day the Tri-city is visible. The lighthouse is also a part of an air traffic control system, and, since 1994, a tourist attraction. Apart from the lighthouse itself, a few keeper houses remain, dating back to 19th century. Facing west, inland, one can see the Swedish Hill with an old lighthouse built during WWII to replace the one destroyed in Hel at the same time.

You can see all my postcards depicting the Polish lighthouses from Baltic sea here.

About the stamps
The first stamp is one of the two of the series Toys World, designed by Marzanna Dąbrowska, and issued on June 1, 2006. The second stamp is part of the series Weather Phenomenon, designed by Marzanna Dąbrowska, and issued on April 25, 2008. The last stamp is part of the series Lighthouses, about which I wrote here.

Hel Lighthouse - Wikipedia
Lighthouse in Hel - Poland's Official Travel Guide

Sender: Krystyna Betiuk (direct swap)
Sent from Gdansk (Pomerania / Poland), on 21.08.2017

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