Lighthouse at Cape Aniva, Sakhalin Island, Russia
© Amazing Aerial Agency/Offset by Shutterstoc
A light at the edge of the world
Battered by the elements, the Aniva Lighthouse stands on top of this rocky outcrop where it once lit the way for boats navigating the currents, rocks and frequent fog of Cape Aniva on the island of Sakhalin. Russia's largest island, Sakhalin lies off the mainland's Far East coast, due north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The island was hotly contested by both Russia and Japan in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the late 1930s, when the Aniva Lighthouse was built, Russia controlled the northern half of Sakhalin while Japan controlled this, the southern part, so it was a team from Japan that built this lighthouse.
Building a lighthouse on this tiny rock was a tricky business amid the turbulent seas of the Northern Pacific. Work began in June 1937 and the engineers and workers overcame numerous obstacles to complete this nine-storey, 100ft tower by October 1939. Lighthouse keepers braved harsh weather, but the lighthouse itself was relatively comfortable. Aside from a kitchen, radio room and equipment room, the living quarters were spread across three floors and could accommodate up to 12 people.
There have been no lighthouse keepers here since the 1990s, when Aniva Lighthouse became fully automated, powered by a nuclear system. But when that power source was depleted in 2006, the lighthouse was abandoned, and now it's being slowly reclaimed by nature.