7 Wonders of the Ancient World

                                               ..::Lighthouse of Alexandria::..

From the Great Pyramid to the Colossus, each wonder has different features and different beauties, but the Lighthouse, isn’t that just a tall tower thing with a light turning around on top? Maybe in modern times, but the Lighthouse of Alexandria is much different, much more beautiful, much more..... amazing.


On the ancient island of Pharos, now commonly known as Alexandria, Egypt


Pharos was a small island just off the coast of Alexandria It was linked to the mainland by a man-made connection name the Heptastadion, which formed one side of the cities harbor. The Lighthouse erected there guided boat-people at night, through fire, and in the day, a giant sun reflecting mirror.


Not too long after the death of Alexander the Great, his commander Ptolemy Soter assumed power in Egypt. He has saw the founding of Alexandria, and made his capital there. Off the city’s coast lies a small island named Pharos. It name (legend says) is a variation of Pharaoh’s Island. The island was connected to the land, by means of a dike the Heptastadion which gave the city a double harbor. And because the sailing conditions was very dangerous a lighthouse was needed to be built.

The project was made by Ptolemy Soter around about 290 BC, but was completed after his death, it was completed when his son Ptolemy Philadelphus was king. Sostratus, was the architect, but detailed bits of the structure was done by Alexandria Library/Mouseion. The structure was dedicated to the Saviour Gods: Ptomlemy Soter (lit. Savoir) and his wife Bernice. For a long amount of time the Lighthouse of Alexandria was used to mark the harbor, using fire and night, and reflecting sun rays during the day.

When the Arabs dominated Egypt, they liked Alexandria and its wealth. The Lighthouse continues to be heard of in there writings and books. But, new rulers moved their capital to Cairo, since they had no ties to the Mediterranean. In AD 956, a earthquake shook Alexandria, but did very little damage to the Lighthouse. Later though, in 1303 and 1323, two much stronger earthquakes came and did hurt the lighthouse.

Finally, in AD 1480, the Egyptian Mamelouk Sultan, Qaitbay, decided to strengthen  Alexandria’s defence. And built a massive fort right on top of where the Lighthouse was.

-Picture is of the Fort, that was built where the Lighthouse was  

What Was It Used For

To guide ships to the harbor. It was used the same as modern day Lighthouses, but this one was just more amazing.


Of all the 6 non-alive wonders, the Lighthouse died last. So, we all have more accurate description details. Ancient writings, such as those by Strabo and Pliny the Elder give us a short description of the Lighthouse. They tell us how the mysterious mirror could reflect light from the sun to tens of kilometres away. Legend says the mirror was also used to burn enemy ships before they reach the shore (evil mirror).

In 1166, an Arab traveller, Abou-Haggag Al-Andaloussi came to the Lighthouse. He wrote a wealth of info and gave a accurate description of the thing, which helped the archaeologists reconstruct the monument. It was composed of 3 stages: The lowest square, 55.9 m high with a cylindrical core; the middle octangonal with a side length of 18.30 m and a height of 27.45 m and the third circular 7.30 m high. The total height of the building including the foundation case was about 117 m, equivalent to a 40-story modern house/building. The inside core was used as a lift to lift the fuel need for the fire. At the top part, the mirror reflected sunlight during the day while the fire was used in the night.