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  • Javier Andrés Villena Medina

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  • Stacey Joy Schoellerman

    // the 35 most beautiful abandoned places // Aniva Rock Lighthouse - Sakhalinskaya Oblast, Russia // A formal penal island used by the Russians, Aniva was once sought after by both the Russia and Japan. This now Russian controlled territory sits uninhabited in the seas between Japan and the eastern coast of Russia.

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Aniva Lighthouse - Russian Lighthouse ( After WWII, the Soviets regained control of Sakhalin from the Japanese and installed a radioisotope generator supplying electricity to the lamp, which made ​​it a beacon of nuclear propulsion. After the fall of communism, the generator was removed. The lighthouse was abandoned and subsequently was looted several times.)

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union built a chain of lighthouses to guide ships finding their way in the dark polar night across uninhabited shores of the Soviet Russian Empire. They had to be fully autonomous, because they were situated hundreds and hundreds miles aways from any populated areas. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unattended automatic lighthouses did their job for some time, but were eventually ransacked by looters.

The Aniva lighthouse was built by the Japanese in 1939, on a chunk of rock off the southern coast of Sakhalin, a thin 950 km long island situated just east of Russia, between the sea of Japan and Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk.

Being so remote, soviet engineers decided to power polar lighthouses with nuclear reactors. And now they are abandoned.

The coast of Aniva Bay, Sakhalin Island, Russia

Aniva Lighthouse, Sakhalin, Russia. Built under extremely difficult conditions on jagged rock just off the southeastern cape of Sakhalin island, the Mys Aniva lighthouse has stood for 3/4 of a century. Japan built the lighthouse in the late 1930s when Sakhalin was split between Japan & the USSR. At the end of WW II, the Soviets seized the whole of Sakhalin, & installed an RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) to supply electricity to the lamp – yes, this was a nuclear-powered lighthouse!

DAVAAR ISLAND lighthouse at the mouth of Campbeltown Loch on the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland.

Barnegat Lighthouse by Maurizio Photography, flickr