Digest>Archives> December 2010

History of Lighthouses of Greece Preserved in New Book

By Timothy Harrison


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It may be hard for many of us to comprehend, but at the beginning of World War II there were 338 historic lighthouses standing in Greece, and by the end of the war, only 28 lighthouses remained in operation, and many of those were in ruins.

At the conclusion of the war, much of Greece was in shambles and hard decisions had to be made on which lighthouses would be reconstructed and which would be replaced by modern aids to navigation, such as skeleton towers. Obviously, the financial burden would be more than the nation could handle, especially with the tremendous amount of money that would be needed to rebuild the rest of the nation.

This is just part of the story told in the new book, The Lighthouses of Greece that was meticulously researched and written by Elinor DeWire & Dolores Reyes-Pergioudakis, who are known to most of you for their past articles in the pages of Lighthouse Digest.

Packed with great color images, The Lighthouses of Greece also gives you a well written history of the lighthouses of Greece, which stands at the crossroads of the Mediterranean. It includes many sidebars with illuminating stories of the lighthouse keepers, lighthouses used as religious sites, and the story of the father of the Hellenic Lighthouse Service, which manages all the nation’s lighthouses.

This book was definitely a labor of love, especially since no standard system exists for translating ancient Greek and old Greek into modern Greek. To help compensate for this, the authors relied heavily on first hand visits to the lighthouses, interviews with the keepers and descendants, and historical information from the archives of the Hellenic Lighthouse Service.

One amazing story in the book that intrigued me the most is about a Russian Admiral who was in charge of the lighthouses of the Black Sea. Against all odds, he escaped death during the Russian Revolution and miraculously made his way to Greece where he eventually became a lighthouse keeper. His story is one of sorrow, tragedy, and triumph that created an amazing legacy not known by most until now.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a thirst for lighthouse knowledge or with an interest in Greece or that part of the world. I congratulate and thank the authors for what must have been a tremendous amount of research that then had to be condensed into the pages of the book, something that I am sure was no easy task. I highly recommend The Lighthouses of Greece to everyone. You will not be disappointed.

The Lighthouses of Greece is available for $16.95 plus shipping from www.LighthouseDepot.com as item #99784 or by calling 1-800-758-1444, or P.O. Box 427, Wells, ME 04690.

This story appeared in the December 2010 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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