Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Lighthouse of Alexandria is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous marine lighthouse in antiquity. Although destroyed by the earthquake, it has been described as a unique architectural marvel and has become the traditional model for all lighthouses ever since. The lighthouse was built between 279 – 270 BC, in the era of the Ptolemies, inspired by the design of the Greek architect “Sostratus”, during the reign of “Ptolemy I” and “Ptolemy II”. It was located on the outskirts of the Pharos Peninsula, the present site of the Citadel of Qaitbay in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, which was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC.
The height of the lighthouse when built was between 120 and 137 meters. As for its location, the Lighthouse of Alexandria rests on the land of Pharos Island in the eastern port area of the city near the famous Qaitbay Citadel
is one of the most important and famous Alexandria landmarks
Design & construction of the Lighthouse of Alexandria
According to several ancient sources, the lighthouse was designed by the architect Sostratus of Cnidus. Where Ptolemy I (r. 323 – 282 BC) ordered the construction of a huge lighthouse to guide ships to Alexandria, delegations to Alexandria and sailors had difficulty avoiding coral reefs, rocks, and shallow water when approaching the port. And as an edifice that symbolizes the power and greatness of Ptolemy.
The project was completed about 20 years later by his son and successor, Ptolemy II (285 – 246 BC). After the Pyramids of Giza, the lighthouse was the tallest building in the world built by human hands. Much of what is known about the structure of the lighthouse comes within the works of the author Hermann Thiersch in 1909 AD, and in the description of Abu al-Hasan al-Masudi, one of the most famous Arab scholars, in 944 AD. It was mentioned that the Lighthouse of Alexandria was built on the outskirts of Pharos Island, with a height of more than 110-130 meters, and 40 floors. According to the ancient sources on which Thierch relied, the lighthouse was built in three stages. The first stage was the construction of the square base of the lighthouse, which included 300 rooms, the second stage was the construction of the octagonal structure, and finally the third stage, the cylindrical structure that leads to a spiral ramp for ascent and descent. At the top a gigantic bonfire of fire sent a light into the night to guide the sailors.
How was the lighthouse of Alexandria destroyed?
The Lighthouse of Alexandria stood for more than 1,600 years before it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1303 AD. Which struck the eastern Mediterranean, and destroyed the forts of Alexandria and its lighthouse. In 1477 AD, some of its large stones were used in the construction of the castle of Sultan “Al-Ashraf Qaitbay”, known as the Qaitbay Citadel in the same location as the lighthouse.
• For more enjoyment, you can go up to the central part of the lighthouse, where you have the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful view of the sea that surrounds you from all directions and breathe the fresh air.
• You have to take a walk on the corridor connected to the lighthouse of Alexandria, which gives you the opportunity to relax and clear your mind amid the beautiful seascape. It also gives you the opportunity to take great pictures, whether of the lighthouse or you with the background of the lighthouse and the sea.
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