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FOOD & TRAVEL

Greece Opens Lighthouses to Visitors, Plans Preservation

August 20, 2019

Tourists and visitors were invited into 28 lighthouses across Greece on Aug. 18 as part of the celebration of the annual International Lighthouse Day and said plans would be made to help preserve them.

The lighthouses across Greece are managed and restored by the Greek Navy’s Lighthouses Service, the state-run Athens Macedonia News Agency (AMNA) said, with 144 traditional stone versions nationally.

Most of them were constructed in the 19th Century and operated on oil until electricity supply reached the most remote parts of the country in the second half of the 20th Century but most were damaged during World War II, the Chinese news agency Xinhua said.

In 1940, there were 206 stone lighthouses in Greece, while till the end of the War only two dozen remained functional, according to the Lighthouses Service’s webpage.

Approximately 80 were rebuilt in the next two decades. The development of telecommunications dealt the final blow to traditional lighthouses and their keepers.

The lighthouses’ role was eventually replaced by light beacons which are cheaper and easier to maintain. Currently, only 58 lighthouses across the country host keepers.

Over the past three decades, various conservation and restoration programs were implemented with funding from the state, European funds and private donors, said the media reports. Last year the opening drew more than 28,000 visitors for the event.

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