Farol da Me Luza

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Location: on the top of a sand hill, near the beach of Areia Preta. Access through Via Costeira. The lighthouse is visible from the entire coastline of Natal.
Phone: 32010477.

Me Luza (Mother Louise) was a "parteira" who lived in Natal in the early 1900s; in the poor areas of Brazil, "parteira" is the woman who help other women give birth. Me Luza gained recognition for her work, and the District of Natal where she used to live was given her name; later on, when the lighthouse was built in the District, it became known, first informally, later officially, as Farol da Me Luza.

Before this lighthouse was built, Natal had a beacon which stood on the wider wall of the Fortress of the Wise Kings; the beacon was a guide both for ships and for the aquaplanes which arrived in Natal via the waters of River Potengi. After World War II was over (Natal had an important role in the World War II), there were no more aquaplanes, and the beacon was substituted by the lighthouse, built in a more proper place; there is a landmark on the Fortress, showing the original location of the beacon.

The lighthouse is located 87 m (285 ft) above sea level; the tower is 37 m (121 ft) high. The lighthouse is operated by the Brazilian Navy. Open for visitations Sunday afternoons.

Below, some photos of the Farol da Me Luza, with comments.

Farol da Me Luza Me Luza lighthouse

Photo to the left: the lighthouse seen from the beach. See an enlarged picture of the Farol da Me Luza.
The photo in the middle shows the entrance door to the lighthouse.
Photo to the right: a closer view of the tower. Besides being important for orientation of ships and airplanes, the Farol da Me Luza is one of the landmarks of Natal; it is always well painted and well maintained.

The lighthouse is situated in premises of the Brazilian Navy.
The photo in the middle shows the houses where the Navy staff lives.
The photo to the right shows the Bairro da Me Luza; it is still one of the poorest districts in Natal.

The stairs to the top have 151 steps, in 8 flights.
Left photo: the stairs looking up.
Center photo: the stairs looking down.
The photo at the right shows the emergency energy mechanism. In case electricity fails, this 50 kg iron weight is released; as the weight travels down, it generates the energy to keep the lighthouse working. It takes 8 hours for the weight to travel all the way down; once the problem is fixed, the weight is manually brought up to the top again. The ladder leads to the bulb chamber.

Left photo: the actual bulb (access to the bulb chamber is not permitted).
Center photo: the shadow of the tower covering a car.
Right photo: the Barreira Roxa hotel, located nearly in front of the lighthouse.

Views from the top of the lighthouse: to the left, the Areia Preta beach; in the middle, Morro do Careca, in Ponta Negra; to the right, the Fortress of Wise Kings, and, in the background, the dunes of Genipabu.

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