The Carol I Lighthouse

The old Carol I lighthouse is located in the port of Constanta.It is mounted in a stone tower and has a height of 21.75 m above the sea level. It is decorated with the bas-relief of King Carol I, who on September 27, 1909 inaugurated the opening of the port of Constanta. There is also a plaque containing the inscription “Port of Constanta”. During that time,Constanta was in a process of quick modernization and so it needed new symbols,which lead to the construction of the Carol I Lighthouse.

The first years of the Carol I Lighthouse coincided with a rapid development of Constanta, under the King’s supervision, the one who managed to align Dobrogea to the standards of the rest of the Kingdom, after the annexation of the territory in 1878.

Constanta began in the 20th century the process of modernization. After the construction of Anghel Saligny’s Cernavoda bridge, the focus switched towards the port to become one of the largest in the Black Sea. Inaugurated in 1909 by King Carol himself, the port and the change of the Romanian policy towards the maritime potential of Constanta was also materialized by the construction of the Carol I Lighthouse, one of the most modern constructions of this kind of the times.

In 1913, Carol’s Lighthouse took over the post from the old Genoese Lighthouse, which would extinguish its light after more than half a century (1860-1913).

In the hot summer of 1914, when no soldier had yet come under arms, the lighthouse in Constanta harbor showed the way to the luxurious yacht and military ships that accompanied Tsar Nicholas II on his first visit to Romania. Just a year before this event that marked the history of Constanta, at the end of the summer of 1913, when the Romanian troops left victorious from Bulgaria in the Second Balkan War, King Carol, looking south from the circular terrace of the Lighthouse the young princess Maria the newly conquered land. There, in 1927, the king will build for his queen one of his best known and most visited residences,the Balcic Castle.

In the mid-1930s, Carol Lighthouse was in charge of over 142 hectares of platforms, 36 commercial docks, 3 military docks, 4 defense dikes, huge oil tanks and grain siloes.

It has become inactive since 1961, and was replaced by the “Landing Lighthouse”, one of the most modern ones at that time, inaugurated in 1960, and  the “White Lighthouse”, located at the end of the extended dike, used 12 years later, in 1972

In 1996 the lighthouse was restored, and replicas of the effigies are put in place of those destroyed by the communists.

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