The lighthouse of Cape Savudrija
Savudrija-Salvore is the oldest active lighthouse in the Adriatic and also, the most northern Croatian lighthouse on the northwestern cape of the Istrian peninsula.
It is situated on the westernmost tip of Croatia and is 36 meters high. The architect Pietro Nobile designed it at the request of the Stock Exchange Deputation from Trieste (nowadays Chamber of Commerce) and was sponsored by the Austrian emperor Francis I, which was mentioned in the inscription at the bottom part of the monument). Its building begun in March 1817.By December some 80% of its overall height was finished. The local stone was used which was taken out from the nearby beach and was carved on the spot. On the night of 17 April 1818, just over one year ago from the beginning of construction, it was already in use! The lighthouse was activated in the presence of the emperor himself, who was then visiting Trieste, including even Savudrija-Salvore into his itinerary.
The building of the lighthouse was financed through the shares issued by the Stock Exchange Deputation, the most interested in making navigation to Trieste safer. Let us not forget that one of the spots the lighthouse of Savudrija-Salvore is visible from is Opicina, which is situated above Trieste. In those times this was an important thing, because by using flags it was possible to provide information on which ship was about to enter the harbor. The harbor authorities and commercial agents were thus able to learn of the arrival in advance and bring to an end all the necessary arrangements before the ship put in.
This was the first lighthouse in the world to derive its light from coal distillation. The raw material came from coalmines on the eastern coast of Istria - Labin area, to be precise. Oil was another possible source of light, in case of gas malfunctioning. Much more money than initially envisaged was spent due to the decision to have gas as an alternative source of energy. The building of a lighthouse on the rock of Pomer, near Cape Premantura, had therefore to be postponed.
The Savudrija-Salvore lighthouse, still amazing for its beauty, was truly a curiosity at the time. We know of instances when the natives or visitors attracted by the phenomenon insisted on climbing to the top at all costs. The lighthouse keepers were allowed to have a weapon and fire it, if necessary. The first 'lighthouse assistants' were Stefano Schmidt and Bartolomeo Micala. In 1828 the first was replaced by Giovanni Giacomo Maurel, member of a Savudrija-Salvore family which is still resident in the place. Today there is only one keeper, since the light has been automatized.
Near the lighthouse there used to be a radio aerial, 60 meters high! It was released in function by an Italian Navy order in 1934. It was dismantled in 1949 and reinstalled in the hills above Portorož. The same year the Radio Koper began to broadcast its program via radio aerial.
The sea is about 30 meters distance from the lighthouse and there is a stone beach situated nearby.
Moderate winds and mild sea currents are favorable to water sports like windsurfing, and clear blue sea with clear rocky sea bottom give wonderful sight for diving fans.
According to available information and legend, the Savudrija-Salvore lighthouse was built in 1818 by the Count Meternich for a beautiful Croatian noble woman to whom he fell in love with on a Viennese ball. Unfortunately, the building in which they planned to live together never got to see its owners live in it. The noble woman died during the last days of completion of the lighthouse, and the Austrian Count had never visited it again.