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Lighthouse at Alexandria - Pharos Lighthouse



Pharos Lighthouse - Wonder of the Ancient World Pharos


7 Wonders of the Ancient World > Lighthouse at Alexandria

The Pharos Lighthouse, one of the wonders of the ancient world stood in the harbor of Alexandria, Egypt [for the location of Alexandria, Egypt, see map of Macedonian North Africa]. Alexandria is better known as the home of an important ancient library filled with important books that were destroyed in a fire. The city was named for Alexander the Great and ruled by the descendants of one of Alexander's generals, Ptolemy. The last of the Ptolemies to rule Egypt was the famous Cleopatra.

Architect Sostratos of Knidos [for Knidos, see Qi on Map of Greece 700-600 B.C.] started construction of the Pharos lighthouse in 270 B.C. Ptolemy Soter (ruled Egypt 323—283 B.C.) commissioned it for 800 silver talents. The white marble lighthouse wasn't finished until Ptolemy Soter's son Ptolemy Philadelphus came to power.

The lighthouse stood for about 1500 years until it succumbed to earthquakes in 1303 and 1326. In 1994 archaeologists found large blocks underwater that they believe to have been part of the Pharos Lighthouse.

Egyptian Terms Glossary

Also Known As: Lighthouse at Alexandria, Pharos
Strabo writes (17.6)
...[Pharos] is a rock, which is washed all round by the sea and has upon it a tower that is admirably constructed of white marble with many stories and bears the same name as the island. This was an offering made by Sostratus of Cnidus, a friend of the kings, for the safety of mariners, as the inscription says: for since the coast was harbourless and low on either side, and also had reefs and shallows, those who were sailing from the open sea thither needed some lofty and conspicuous sign to enable them to direct their course aright to the entrance of the harbour.

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