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Seven Wonders of the World - Light House of Alexandria

Additional Reading

This light house of Alexandria was one of the useful of the seven wonders of the world (for the sailors to return to the Great Harbor), which is a small differentiates it, when compared with the other wonders of the world. The mirror which was mounted on this lighthouse could reflect the light more than 35 miles off-shore. Of the 6 ancient destroyed wonders, this was the last to be destroyed around 1480 AD.


On the ancient island of Pharos, now a promontory on the harbor of the city of Alexandria in Egypt.


This lighthouse was built around 280 BC and was around 134 m in height. This was built in the city of Alexandria.

The light house had a good mirror which can reflect the sun light to a very long distance. Mythical stories used to say that this mirror was used to burn the enemy ships.

The Macedonian conqueror, Alexander during his successful reign, had tried establishing approximately 17 cities in the name of Alexandria. The only one survived long was the one in Egypt. That too even this city was not completely built by Alexander. The completion of the construction of this city was achieved by his commander Ptolemy I Soter.

Ptolemy connected Alexandria to the Pharos island by a bridge. It was realized that the sailing in this coastal region is very dangerous. That is why he decided to build a light house. This project was initiated during Ptolemy's reign in 290 BC and completed after his death by his son Ptolemy Philadelphus. Sostratus who lived in the same time as Euclid, was the architect. This used to remain in the harbor for centuries. This wonder of the world also depicted in the Roman coins that time.

The writings of the Arab conquerors are very good source of information about this lighthouse. The new rulers moved the capital to the Cairo. So this place had lost its importance. Three earthquakes stuck in various periods (around AD 956, AD 1303 and AD 1323 ) have damaged the lighthouse significantly. The during AD 1480 the Egyptian Mamelouk Sultan, has built a medieval fort at the same place. That was the end to the story of the light house.

There are some more tales to the light house. Sostratus after he completed the lighthouse wanted his name to be carved on the light house. This was not allowed by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Ptolemy II wanted his name to be carved on the structure. But what Sostratus did is he first carved his name underneath, put plasters on it and then carved Ptolemy II's name. After some years, the plasters worn out and his name has come out to be known to all.

The design of the lighthouse was unlike the modern slim lighthouse towers. This was built in 3 stages, each built on top of the lower.

This lighthouse was so popular that the word Pharos came into French, Spanish and Italian to mean lighthouse.


Seven Wonders of the world - Ancient Times



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