Construction of the Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse in Jutland, Denmark straddled the last two centuries, beginning in 1899 and finishing in 1900. It was built on a dune-less cliff 200m away from the sea and 60m above sea level, but as the years passed the sea drew closer, and with it came the dunes, which gradually began to swallow up the base of the lighthouse.
The Rubjerg-Knude, buried in sand. Image from Milan Kuminowski.
Initially it was 23 meters tall, but by 1968 only some 15 meters was accessible- the rest, including all the entrances, were stopped up and buried, finally shutting the lighthouse down.
Early architectural plans. Image from Rubjerg-Knude.
1899 construction- no dunes in sight. Image from Rubjerg-Knude.
The finished lighthouse, with the dunes slowly climbing up the rise towards it. Image from Solar Energy Dream.
Efforts were made to protect the lighthouse over the years, with sand pine grates installed and lyme grass planted on the dunes in an attempt to halt their encroachment. It didn’t work, and the lighthouse was shut down, but life around it didn’t halt completely- after 1968 the surrounding buildings were converted to a sand drift museum and coffee shop, which continued operation until 2002. Now though the sand has swallowed them too, caving in their roofs with its weight.
Soon, as the sea draws closer and the winds endlessly blows the dunes inland, there will be nothing left of the Rubjerg-Knude at all.
Swamped museum and cafeteria. Image from Ricardo Massino.
Roofs buckled under the flowing weight of sand. Image by Christoph Grimlowski.
Growing into the dunes. Image from Solar Energy Dream.
Peeking up like Lady Liberty’s hand in Planet of the Apes. Image from Solar Energy Dream.
Dead sentinel of the dunes.
Dead Sentinels: 10 abandoned lighthouses
See many more abandoned places in the ruins gallery.
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