Interest in lighthouses as objects of marine culture has increased, thereby resulting in the preservation of historic lighthouses and their alternative use as tourist attractions.
Kõpu Lighthouse in Hiiumaa, which has illuminated the sea since 1531, is certainly one of the three oldest continuously operating lighthouses in the world and has even been considered the oldest according to some estimates. The most important Eastern-Western trade route of Northern Europe surpassed Hiiumaa and merchants complained that their ships vanished in the Baltic Sea. Thus, Kõpu Lighthouse was constructed at the highest point of Hiiumaa, 67 metres above sea level, to warn ships against the Hiiu Shoal. Cast iron structures of Ristna and Tahkuna lighthouses were designed and manufactured at the workshop of the famous engineer Gustave Eiffel and brought here from France. However, they were switched by accident, therefore, the less-important Tahkuna Lighthouse is actually higher and more visible.