Armenistis Lighthouse (Faros Armenistis) – A Sleeping Beauty Exuding Mykonos Charm
Built in 1891, Armenistis Lighthouse or Faros Armenistis, as the locals call it, is a proud reminder of a once glorious maritime history that is tied to the island of Mykonos. Although fully functional to date, it stands in silence at the Fanari area on the north-western part of the island, and some 7km from Mykonos Town, offering staggering views of the Aegean and all the way to neighbouring Tinos island.
Surrounded by a charming stone-fenced courtyard that feels as if wanting to preserve the allure of Armenistis Lighthouse, its whitewashed tower and cubic-shaped construction are in perfect alignment with the traditional Cycladic architecture seen throughout Mykonos. Watching Armenistis Lighthouse from afar seems like the rugged cliffs of Cape Armenistis that house the iconic landmark provide a step back in time, making you feel like entering an entirely different cosmos than that experienced by strolling the bustling streets of the Chora.
The history behind the dramatic sight
The imposing monument came into being after British steamship Volta sunk off the north coast of Mykonos in 1887, leading to the death of eleven people. This unfortunate incident made the construction of a lighthouse a necessity as a means to keep sailing ships safe. Four years later, the 19-metre tall Faros Armenistis was the guiding beacon of every vessel sailing the cobalt waters of the Aegean, at a time when Mykonos was also a popular hub among merchants who made frequent stops here on their way to/from Italy and the East.
Enormous work was put into creating the lighthouse, using the finest materials of the time, including a Sauter Lemonier mechanism, which received an International Exhibition award in Paris. Working tirelessly for nearly a century before it was replaced by electrical equipment in 1983, this mechanism ensured Armenistis Lighthouse was making its presence clear for every passing boat.
Today, the Aegean Maritime Museum in the heart of the Chora (Mykonos Town) is the final home of the original lighting machinery. The lighthouse itself, though, is not open to the public. However, you can certainly visit the awe-inspiring emblem for its spectacular seascapes. You have the chance to lay eyes on some of the most heart-stopping sunsets while the historical aura and the eerie-like landscape add to the overall magnetism of the place.
Touring the island
The much-photographed monument is a meeting spot for romantic souls and a popular addition to almost every Mykonos tour. Its historical importance combined with the beautiful 360 views of the Aegean Sea and the cloudless Mediterranean skies makes it a unique spectacle in itself. Also carrying a spiritual message across, that of always being a light to guide us even in our darkest hours if we only look for it on the horizon, Faros Armenistis is so much more than just another tourist attraction on a cosmopolitan island. Definitely worth visiting, whether you are in a soul search, a personal quest to reinvent yourself, or simply a journey that fills your baggage with precious memories.
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