The Lighthouse of Tankar can be visited on certain days during the summer. The Tankar lighthouse is managed by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. The lighthouse is still in use, therefore the uppest part of the lighthouse (the lantern room) is closed to the public. Lighthouse tours only with guide. Group size is max. 6 people and the fee 5 €/ person over 15 y.
Prior to the construction of the lighthouse there was only the previously mentioned stone landmark and pole as well as a lit beacon maintained by the fishermen. This was a small cabin with its windows towards the sea and a round fireplace in the centre of the room. Seafarers were able to take their bearings using the fire’s light. Fishermen on the island took turns to maintain the fire. Over the course of time, people began to long for a proper lighthouse in the approach to Kokkola. In 1888 the pilotage service ordered an iron lighthouse tower and beacon equipment from Osberg’s Helsinki workshop. The iron components were manufactured in Germany. The tower, which is covered with metal plates, was constructed without landings and its spiral staircase has 122 steps. The beacon is 27.5 metres above ground level. The lighting element, which was manufactured in Henry Lepaute’s factory in Paris, was one of the most powerful of its time – its beam carried for 13 nautical miles. The lighthouse was lit up for the first time on 15.10.1889.
In the summer of 1903, a mechanical fog signalling device was obtained for Tankar. In heavy fog conditions audible signals were also given using small dynamite charges. The charge had to be detonated every ten minutes for as long as the fog persisted. Sometimes the fog would not lift for weeks. The lighthouse was converted to electrical operation in 1961, which also more than doubled the range of the beam to 27.5 nautical miles. The lighthouse is still operational and is one of Finland’s brightest lighthouses.
Fun facts: Henry Lepaute’s factory in Paris also manufactured the Eiffel tower. The lighthouse of Tankar and Eiffel tower were both erected in 1889 and are still proudly standing.