Lighthouses have always served as a warning to ships in the sea showing the closeness of the coast and providing other important information, nowadays lighthouses are also interesting historical, cultural and tourism objects. Ventspils Freeport Authority takes care of Oviši, Užava, and Akmeņrags lighthouses. Those are also the only lighthouses in Latvia that are open for visitors.
Oviši lighthouse in the EU project
To retain industrial heritage, a Latvian and Estonian cross-border cooperation project has been started Revival of Industrial heritage for tourism development financed by the European Union INTERREG programme. The project includes 26 Latvian and Estonian industrial heritages, including the oldest Latvian lighthouse, the 37m high Oviši lighthouse. During implementation of the project, a route will be created linking all the objects included in the project.
Oviši lighthouse is certainly one of the most beautiful and interesting objects in the project. The visitors are welcome not only to see the lighthouse itself but also an exhibition about the oldest and modern equipment of the Latvian lighthouses. Exhibition has been developed for several years and is still supplemented. For example, an old buoy that was washed ashore was added to the exhibition recently. In Oviši, visitors can also see such equipment of lighthouses and shipping that worked recently but now are not used anymore and have been replaced with more modern ones. After implementation of the project, the visitors, in an exciting and interactive way, will be able to familiarise themselves with the history of lighthouses and their significance.
Wedding in a lighthouse
Oviši lighthouse, as well as Užava and Akmeņrags lighthouses are available to tourists. In Oviši, currently repairs of interior are carried out, however, according to the supervisor and the guide of the lighthouse Iveta Bādere, visitors are anyway very welcome to visit the lighthouse. July and August are the most active tourism months for the lighthouse. This summer, Oviši was visited by tourists from different Latvian towns, as well as from Lithuania, Germany, Scotland, Luxembourg and other European countries. People have different interest in the lighthouse, said Ms Bādere. Majority of visitors like climbing up to the top of the 37m high lighthouse, the same height as five-storey building, to view the landscape of the sea and treetops. Others, in their turn, are more interested in the shipping history exhibition of Ventspils and Kurzeme.
Every year, in the territory of Oviši different events are organised. For example, participants of the expedition My sea had rest in Oviši after a long journey along the sea coast. The place is also popular among youth organisations that organise sports events, master classes and other activities in Oviši. The lighthouse has also become more popular among the newly-weds, more and more wedding and engagement ceremonies are held in the lighthouse. Last year, a wedding ceremony was held on the top of the lighthouse. Thanks to the construction of the lighthouse, it has wonderful natural acoustics, the voice sounds so well that artists can play music and sing without a microphone.
In the territory of the lighthouse, there are buoys and other shipping vessels that tell us about shipping history in Kurzeme.
Oviši lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Latvia and it is 37m high.
The light comes up for 3 seconds that is followed by 4.5 seconds long pause. The flashing light can be seen from 15 sea miles away.
Many are attracted by the exhibition of shipping resources that were used in different time periods.