Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lighthouse of Alexandria

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was on the island of Pharos off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. It was also known as the Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Great Lightouse of Alexandria, the Lightouse of Pharos, The Pharos Lighthouse and Pharos of Alexandria. It was one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for centuries.

Alexandria, Egypt was founded by Alexander the Great of Macedonia in 332 BC and was one of about 70 cities in his empire that he founded and named after himself. He had a mole or stone causeway constructed to unite the island of Pharos with Alexandria nearly a mile away. The area to the east of the mole became a great harbour

Alexander the Great died in 323 BC and his successor was Ptolemy I Soter who commissioned the building of the lighthouse around 290 BC.  It took between 12 to 20 years to complete. Ptolemy I Soter died in 283 BC and the construction was completed under his son and successor Ptolemy II Philadelphus.

The structure itself was made of limestone blocks and had three levels. The foundation level was a square 30 meters by 30 meters or about 100 foot by 100 foot while the height was about 75 meters or 246 feet. The middle level was octagonal with each side about 18 meters or 60 feet with a height of 35 meters or 115 feet. The top level was a cylinder which was about 18 meters or 60 feet high including a section for the where a large mirror reflected daylight in the day and they utilized a furnace at night.The interior of the lighthouse had stairs to allow people to reach the beacon area on the top level. A statue of Triton stood at the four corners of the building while a statue of Poseidon was on top of the lighhouse. The total height of the lighthouse was about 118 meters or 390 feet. It was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The basic design was used for the construction of all light houses that followed.

The lighthouse suffered minor damage by an earthquake in 956 AD but had major structural damage by earthquakes in 1303 and 1323. Many of the remaining stones were used in the construction of a fort on the site in 1480 commissioned by Qaitbay the Sultan of Egypt. 

Ancient Seven Wonders page

No comments:

Post a Comment