Lighthouse at Cape St Vincent

Lighthouse at Cape St Vincent

Algarve, Portugal

1846 (extensively rebuilt 1908; station established around 1515). Active; focal plane 86 m (282 ft); one quick white flash every 5 s. 28 m (92 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2- and 3-story keeper’s complex. A hyper-radiant Fresnel lens (larger than 1st order) has been in use since 1908. Light tower is unpainted; lantern painted red; keeper’s houses painted white with red roofs. Fog horn (two 5 s blasts every 30 s).  This is one of the world’s great lighthouses and Portugal’s most famous lighthouse. Cape St. Vincent is the traditional “land’s end” of Europe, the extreme southwesternmost point of the continent, the essential landfall for sailors returning from Africa or the Orient. Lights were shown from the Convent of São Vicente early in the 1500s, but the convent and light tower were destroyed in a raid by Sir Frances Drake in 1587. A new light tower was built in 1606. The present lighthouse, placed in service in 1846, was poorly maintained for many years. A large-scale reconstruction, ordered in 1897 and completed in 1908, included the installation of one of the largest Fresnel lenses ever built; only a handful of these great lenses remain in service anywhere. The light was automated in 1982, but a small staff remains on duty. Since the light station attracts thousands of visitors annually, the navy has constructed a small visitor center and museum on the site. Located atop spectacular cliffs at the point of the cape, about 7 km (4.5 mi) west of Sagres. Site and museum open, tower open Wednesday afternoons. ARLHS POR-012; PT-436; Admiralty D2168; NGA 3616. – From The Lighthouse Directory

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