Houses and buildings – history

Houses and buildings – history

Lighthouse Darßer Ort and NATUREUM Darßer Ort

One of the symbols of Germany’s Baltic Sea coast is the lighthouse Darßer Ort built in 1848, located in one of the most beautiful places of the German coastline, in a national park called “Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft”. It is the model of this historical complex of buildings that you have now in front of you.

The Lighthouse Darßer Ort

The Baltic Sea between Darßer Ort and the Danish village of Gedser on the island of Falster shows a great many shallows. These waters have been considered as dangerous by sailors for a long time. Therefore, the lighthouse was built in fall 1848 and taken into service shortly thereafter. This makes the lighthouse the second oldest of the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, second only to lighthouse “Schinkel-Turm” on Cape Arkona on the island of Rugen. It is, however, the oldest lighthouse of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern still in operation today. In the year 1936 the navigational light was refurbished from petrol to electricity. Until 1978 there were lighthouse wardens manning the building. Nowadays the navigational light is remote controlled.
Since it was built, the lighthouse Darßer Ort has been a point of interest for people hiking through Darß. Between 1962 and 1989, however, public access to the lighthouse was prohibited - the regime of the GDR declared the area of Darßer Ort prohibited for military and security reasons. Since 1990 the lighthouse and the premises belong to the department of water and naval operations of the city of Stralsund. Today, the lighthouse is classified as a historic monument. In 1990 the cupola and the walls underwent comprehensive restoration. In 1994, the interior of the lighthouse was restored, the stairs were reconstructed. In March 1995 - after a break of 33 years - the lighthouse was once again opened to visitors.

The NATUREUM Darßer Ort

Since 1991 the buildings have been used by the German Naval Museum (Stralsund) as an outpost named “NATUREUM Darßer Ort”. With the premises and in the lighthouse itself visitors get to see the exhibitions “Nature and environment of Darßer Ort”, “Animals of the Darßer landscape” and “The history of the lighthouse”. Especially the variety, the dynamics and the need for protection of the unique environment and the landscape of Darß are focused on. A variety of stuffed animals give a genuine impression of the sea’s fauna, as well as of beach, dunes and forest, that form the core of this part of the national park. The Baltic Sea aquarium, on-site in Darßer Ort, features three basins containing a variety of fish and invertebrates of the Baltic Sea.
Upon clear skies, visitors get to enjoy a tremendous view from the 35m high lighthouse. The Darß, Landscape and a wide part of the Baltic Sea can be looked at - sometimes one can see as far as the thornbush of Hiddensee and the Chalk Coast of the Danish island Mön. The coffee house of the lighthouse belongs to the NATUREUM as well and is reserved for the NATUREUM’s visitors. During opening hours snacks and beverages are served, even a light meal at lunch time.
From the NATUREUM it takes only a short walk to the Darßer west beach. This beach is one of the few in Germany virtually unaffected by human influence. On this beach you can enjoy the purity of nature regardless of the time of year. Long hikes are strongly recommended. In the summer, the water of the Baltic Sea, especially clear in this area, and the fine sand of the beach allow for a unique bathing experience. A walking path leads through the dunes and allows hikers to get insights into areas of the national park strictly limited to nature.
The NATUREUM Darßer Ort cannot be reached by car - only on foot, with bicycles or by horse carriage. Still, Darßer Ort attracts more than 150 000 visitors per year. The lighthouse is a popular destination, often chosen by hikers coming from Prerow (approx. 75 minutes on foot), Born and Wieck. The pathways leading to the lighthouse take hikers through the magnificent forest of Darß.
The NATUREUM Darßer Ort is open throughout the whole year, in the summer time every day between 10am and 6pm, in the winter time from Wednesday till Sunday between 11am and 4pm.
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