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While becoming a tourist attraction, the Lithuanian port city landmark will preserve its function as a navigational beacon
The Klaipėda lighthouse, which was off-limits to visitors in the port territory for decades, can be opened to the public this year. The Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration (LTSA), which manages the oldest and principal Lithuanian lighthouse, has decided to hand it over to Klaipėda City Municipality.
Drawing ships and tourists
The details of the handover were discussed last week at a meeting organized by the Ministry of Transport and Communications with Klaipėda City Mayor Vytautas Grubliauskas and representatives of LTSA and SE Klaipėda State Seaport Authority. The LTSA, in cooperation with Klaipėda municipality, will coordinate actions to ensure that the lighthouse takeover process runs smoothly. The final decision has yet to be voted on by the city council but the outcome is clear.
Once the municipality has taken over the lighthouse and opened it to the public, its function - to help ships enter the port - would be retained. Specialists from the LTSA Maritime Department would continue to take care of the navigation equipment.
"The Nida lighthouse on Urbo Hill, which opened its doors to the public last summer, very quickly became one of the most visited objects on the coast. This is a great example that proves that the public is interested in the history of these objects; they become a point of attraction and, most importantly, an accessible space for education,” says Mindaugas Tarnauskas, Adviser to the Minister of Transport and Communications, quoted by klaipeda.lt.
“The desire to hand over the Klaipėda lighthouse to the city is a welcome idea as this object is one of our most important maritime symbols. Thanks to the goodwill of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the State Seaport, the Klaipėda lighthouse could become a permanent attraction for Lithuanian and foreign tourists,” says Klaipėda City Mayor Vytautas Grubliauskas.
Like a phoenix
The 40-metre-high lighthouse was built and lit in 1796. It was one of the first beacons on the north-eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. Over the years, the lighthouse was raised higher and more reflectors were installed.
The Klaipėda lighthouse was completely destroyed during World War II, but in 1945 was restored. Currently, it opens doors to the townspeople only once a year - on the third weekend of August, World Lighthouse Day.
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