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Blessed Light

Pablo Etchevers Pablo Etchevers

The history of the Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse is unforgettable both for its neighbors and for the countless vessels it has guided. Today, it is a must visit.

Visit to the Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse

Whoever takes a look at a map of the region will see that Colonia del Sacramento is located in a strategic point in the Río de la Plata. Though the river may seem calm, when hit by the Southeast wind, everything changes.

All through history, the city has been disputed by the Portuguese and the Spanish and real battles have been fought off its shores. But when the night fell, and especially on nights without a moon, everything became dark. And if on top of that there was a storm, the river went mad and its waters began to roar, as if it was haunted. And as all this happened quite often, sailing was a reckless exploit.

Visit to the Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse

The Need for Light

So many shipwrecks were there in the area (many boats ended up at the bottom of the river with large gold and silver treasures on board) that the need to light the city during the night became urgent amongst its dwellers.

It was 1855 when, pursuant to a regulation passed by the legislative power, a kind of toll or tax was levied on vessels mooring at the small city in order to raise funds to build the first lighthouse in the region. So much money was collected that the works began by January 24, 1855. The lighthouse would stand on part of the ruins of one of the towers of the ancient San Francisco Xavier convent.

Visit to the Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse

Looking at the World

The beaches of Colonia may be appreciated from the lighthouse, which is high enough to have a view of everything around.

The lighthouse took longer than expected to turn on its light. It did so in January 24, 1857 and the neighbors were so thrilled that the news transcended Uruguay, and reached the front pages of the most important newspapers in the world.

Visit to the Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse

“Colonia’s eyes look at the world” the sailors and navigators began to say. Now they could reach the shore in the small hours. Today, over 150 after its creation, the old lighthouse is in excellent condition. Not only does it show its light, but it also invites visitors to go up its staircase to its top to watch the river and the magic treasured by wonderful Colonia del Sacramento.

Visit to the Colonia del Sacramento Lighthouse
Welcome Uruguay - Outings in Colonia del Sacramento
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Bear in mind

When ships leave the city, the tall white silhouette of the lighthouse escorts visitors with nostalgia. It is weird, but urban legends go that whoever stares at the lighthouse for a while will return to Colonia, maybe because they have left something behind.

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