Alexandria Lighthouse: One of the Seven Wonders of the World | Historical cooperative (2023)

Alexandria Lighthouse, also known as Alexandria Lighthouse, is a lighthouse towering over the ancient city of Alexandria. Even today the town is of great importance, with the lighthouse at the eastern end of the island of Faros.

It is known for its extraordinary architecture as the height of the structure was unknown at the time. In fact, the Alexandria Lighthouse is listed as one of the Seven Architectural Wonders of Antiquity, attesting to its architectural excellence. What are you doing? Why was he so persuasive then?

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What is the Alexandria Lighthouse?

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The Alexandria Lighthouse is a tall building that towers over ancient Alexandria and guides thousands of ships safely to Alexandria. Construction began around the 2nd century BC. completed almost certainly around 240 BC. The tower is quite elastic.somehow remain intactUntil 1480 AD

These buildings are 300 feet tall, which is about 91.5 meters. While the tallest man-made structures today measure over 2,500 feet (or 820 meters), Alexandria's ancient lighthouse was the tallest structure for over a thousand years.

Many ancient descriptions indicate that there was a statue at the top of the tower. Many contemporary historians believe it was a statue.Zeus. a statuegreek godBeing on Egyptian soil might seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense. This has to do with the people who ruled the country where the Alexandria Lighthouse is located.

Where is the Alexandria lighthouse?

The Alexandria Lighthouse is located on an island called Pharos outside of the city of Alexandria. The city of Alexandria was founded after Alexander the Great (the famous Macedonian king) and later Alexander the Great.Roman EmpireconqueredEgyptian Empire. The island where the lighthouse is located is on the western edge of the Nile Delta.

Although Pharos was originally a real island, it was later connected to the mainland by a so-called "mole". A bridge made of stone blocks.

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Who built the Alexandria lighthouse?

Although the city was founded by Alexander the Great, it was actually Ptolemy who ordered the construction of the Lighthouse of Alexandria after he came to power. The tallest man-made structure iscompleteDuring the reign of his son Ptolemy II, construction lasted about 33 years.

What was the Alexandria lighthouse made of?

The tower itself is made entirely of white marble. The lighthouse is an eight-sided cylindrical tower. It consists of three floors, each smaller than the one below, while above it a fire burns continuously day and night.

Before mirrors as we know them today were used,ancient civilizationIn fact, using bronze is the closest thing to a perfect reflection. These mirrors are often placed next to the lighthouse flames to magnify the actual flames.

The reflection of the fire's light in the copper mirror is of great value as it makes the tower visible from about 70 kilometers away. Sailors could easily sail into the city without being shipwrecked.

decorative statue above

However, the fire itself is not the highest point of the tower. A statue of the god was erected at the top. Based on the writings of ancient authors, historians generally agree that it is a statue of the Greek god Zeus.

Over time the statue may have been removed and the dominance over the land on which the lighthouse stands may have changed.

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The importance of headlights

The importance of the Alexandria Lighthouse cannot be underestimated. Egypt has always been a place of intense trade and Alexandria's location made it the perfect port. It received ships from all over the Mediterranean and has long been the most important port on the African continent.

Thanks to its important lighthouse and port, the city of Alexandria has grown over time. In fact, it almost became the second largest city in the worldRoma

Why was the Alexandria Lighthouse built?

Unfortunately, the Alexandria coast is not an ideal location for the largest commercial center: it lacks natural visual landmarks and is surrounded by hidden underwater barrier reefs. The lighthouse of Alexandria ensures that the correct course can be maintained day and night. The lighthouse was also used to show newcomers the power of the city.

Therefore, the lighthouse was built to strengthen the already important position of Alexander and the Macedonian Greek Empire. The construction of the now famous lighthouse enabled the establishment of an efficient and continuous trade route with any Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean or other Mediterranean areas.

Without a lighthouse to guide ships, Alexandria is only accessible during daylight hours, which is not without risk. The lighthouse allowed visitors traveling by boat access to the city at any time of the day or night, reducing the risk of shipwreck.

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Enemies and Strategies

While the lighthouse allowed friendly ships to safely arrive, some legends say it was also used to set enemy ships on fire. However, they are mostly legends and they are probably wrong.

This is because the bronze mirrors in the lighthouses are moveable and can be positioned to reflect the sun or fire at approaching enemy ships. If you played with a magnifying glass as a kid, you probably know that concentrated sunlight can heat objects up very quickly. In that sense, it could be an effective strategy.

However, it remains to be seen whether it is actually possible to damage enemy ships from this distance. However, there is no denying that the Pharos Lighthouse has two viewing platforms that can be used to spot approaching ships and determine if they are friendly or foe ships.

What happened to the Alexandria lighthouse?

The Alexandria Lighthouse was the prototype of modern lighthouses, but was eventually destroyed by several earthquakes. The last flame was extinguished in 1480 AD. when the Egyptian sultan converted the remaining ruins of the lighthouse into a medieval fortress.

The lighthouse has changed a lot over time. This is mainly because the Arabs ruled the area where the lighthouse is located for over 800 years.

Although the area has been populated since the 3rd century B.C. was ruled by the Greeks. and the Romans since the 1st century AD, the lighthouse finally became an important part of Islamic history in the 6th century AD.

read more:Complete Roman Empire Timeline: War Dates, Emperors and Events

havesome excerptsMany scholars have spoken of this tower from this Islamic era. Many of these texts discuss the appearance of the tower, including the bronze mirror and even the treasure hidden beneath. However, it is likely that the tower was renovated and remodeled several times during the current Arab rule.

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Changes in the Arab era

Numerous reports seem to indicate that the Pharos Lighthouse was much shorter than its original length during the period of Arab rule. This is related to the fact that the upper part is removed over time. There are two different explanations for this.

First, this may have something to do with the first restoration of the tower. The reason for the restoration was probably to adapt to the Arabic architectural style of the area.

Since the Muslim rulers of antiquity were known for undoing the projects of earlier empires, it is likely that the Arabs rebuilt the entire empire in their own style. This makes sense, because incoming ships can see from a distance which culture they are dealing with.

The second reason has to do with the natural history of the region. In other words, when the tower was strong, there were many earthquakes.

The first officially documented earthquake to damage the tower occurred in 796, some 155 years after the Arab conquest of the area. However, many other earthquakes were recorded before the 796 earthquake and it is hard to believe that none of these earthquakes damaged the lighthouse.

There will definitely be renovations

Between 796 and 950 AD C. the number of earthquakes increased. The Pharos Lighthouse is an impressive man-made structure, but not even the best buildings of its time could withstand a major earthquake.

The first devastating earthquake in 796 led to the tower's first official renovation. This remodel is focused on the top of the tower and may result in changes to the top statue.

It may have been a minor renovation, nothing compared to the renovations done after the most devastating earthquake in AD 950.

How was the Alexandria lighthouse destroyed?

After an earthquake in AD 950 that shook the ancient world of Arabia, the Alexandria Lighthouse was in need of an almost complete renovation. Eventually, additional earthquakes and tsunamis in 1303 and 1323 severely damaged the lighthouse, causing it to collapse into two separate parts.

The lighthouse operated until 1480 when an Arab sultan eventually dismantled the remains of the lighthouse and built a fort on the ruins of the lighthouse.

Alexandria Lighthouse: One of the Seven Wonders of the World | Historical cooperative (6)

Rediscovery of Ruins

While an Arab sultan turned the lighthouse's foundations into a fortress, other remains appear to be lost forever. Until French archaeologists and divers rediscovered the remains of the Alexandria lighthouse on the seabed just outside the city.

Among other things, they found many collapsed columns, statues and large blocks of granite. The statues include 30 sphinxes, 5 obelisks and even carvings from the time of Ramses II, who ruled the area from 1279 BC. reigned. until 1213 BC Chr.

Therefore, it is safe to say that not all sunken ruins belong to lighthouses. However, some ruins representing lighthouses have been identified.

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has drawn up a plan to convert Alexandria's underwater ruins into an underwater museum. Therefore, today it is possible to visit the ruins of the old lighthouse. However, to see this tourist attraction, you must be able to dive.

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Why is the Alexandria Lighthouse so famous?

The first reason the Alexandria Lighthouse is so famous has to do with its status: it is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Although a massive earthquake eventually brought down the lighthouse, it is actually one of the oldest Seven Wonders of the World after the Pyramids of Giza.

This great lighthouse stood for 15 centuries. For over a thousand years it was considered the largest man-made structure on earth. This makes it one of the greatest architectural feats of antiquity. In addition, it is the only one of the seven wonders that has a practical function: it helps ships find a safe port.

When the Alexandria Lighthouse was built, other ancient lighthouses already existed. So it's not the first. However, the Alexandria lighthouse became the prototype of all lighthouses in the world. To date, almost all lighthouses are modeled after the Alexandria lighthouse.

lighthouse reminder

On the one hand, the Alexandria lighthouse is remembered because its ruins have been discovered and can be visited. However, interest in the remains of the lighthouse is primarily associated with many ancient authors and Arabic literature, making the lighthouse a true legend.

In 1510, a century and a half after the fall of the tower, Sultan al-Ghawri wrote the first writings on the tower's importance and legendary status.

Among other things, the lighthouse plays an important role in a poem written in 1707 about the Egyptian resistance to the Christians. The Christians initially lost land to the Arabs, but never stopped attacking the area after their defeat. They continued to attack and attack the Egyptian coast for two centuries after being driven off the coasts of Egypt.

The poem enjoyed great popularity and was adapted into a play. Although the original play was performed sometime in 1707, it continued to be performed well into the 19th century. More than a hundred years have passed since then!

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Christianity or legacy of Islam?

Of course, the city of Alexandria came to life thanks to Alexander the Great. In addition, it is certain that the construction of the Pharos Lighthouse was completed under the reign of King Ptolemy II. However, the tower must also have been of considerable importance in the Arab world, which came to power after the Greeks and Romans.

read more:Ancient Greece Timeline: Pre-Mycenaean Period to Roman Conquest

It is no coincidence that the Muslim rulers continued to restore the lighthouse. Of course, the strategic advantage of modernizing the lighthouse played an important role. However, the tower itself could not be without religious affiliation, as attested by the extensive writings about the lighthouse that appeared long after its destruction. In its later years, the tower became a beacon of Islam rather than Christianity.


Is the Lighthouse of Alexandria one of the seven wonders of the world? ›

lighthouse of Alexandria, also called Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous lighthouse in antiquity. It was a technological triumph and is the archetype of all lighthouses since.

Why is the Lighthouse of Alexandria one of the seven wonders of the world? ›

The Lighthouse of Alexandria is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World because of both the size and speed at which it was built. The tower stood at over 330 feet tall, which at the time of construction was the second tallest manmade structure in existence, apart from the pyramids of Giza.

What is the paragraph about the Lighthouse of Alexandria? ›

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, or the Pharos, was a tall tower built between 285 and 247 BCE. It was built on the island of Pharos in Alexandria, Egypt to serve as a lighthouse for sailors. The top of the tower had a mirror that reflected sunlight during the day; a fire was lit at night.

What evidence was found in the Alexandria lighthouse? ›

They found many collapsed columns and statues and 49-60 ton blocks of granite. Notably, they also found 30 sphinxes, 5 obelisks, and columns with carvings that date back to the time of Ramses II who ruled from 1279 to 1213 BC. They cataloged over 3,300 pieces.

What is the official 7 Wonders of the World? ›

The Seven Wonders of the World are a group of places around the globe that are considered to be of great importance. These are: The Colosseum in Italy, Petra in Jordan, Chichén Itzá in Mexico, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Machu Picchu in Peru, Taj Mahal in India and The Great Wall of China.

How many of the original 7 Wonders still exist? ›

Of the original Seven Wonders of the World, only one—the Great Pyramids of Giza—still exists. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Temple of Artemis, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus have all faded to dust and memory.

Which part of Alexandria was considered one of the Seven Wonders? ›

Pharos (Lighthouse) of Alexandria

This ancient lighthouse, considered a technical masterpiece that served as the model for all lighthouses that followed, was constructed on Pharos, an island in the harbor of Alexandria in Egypt, known as Kemet by its ancient citizens.

What are the 7 wonders of the Ancient World Alexandria? ›

While the entries have varied over the centuries, the seven traditional wonders are the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Was the Lighthouse of Alexandria the last of the six vanished wonders? ›

The lighthouse has a white marble cover, stood 384 feet high, and was built during the 3rd century. Of the six vanished Wonders, it was the last to disappear.

Why was a fire kept burning on the top of the lighthouse at Alexandria? ›

It was lit by a fire that was always burning

It was hugely important and visibly striking. During the night, the fire alone would be enough to guide ships into Alexandria's harbours. By day, on the other hand, the vast plumes of smoke created by the blaze were enough to guide approaching ships.

How far could the Lighthouse of Alexandria be seen? ›

The lighthouse served its purpose perfectly: During the day, sailors could use it to navigate; at night, they could safely spot the harbor. Standing more than 350 feet tall, the lighthouse could be seen from 34 miles away—a whole day's sailing—according to the Jewish historian Josephus.

Who is the statue on the top of the Lighthouse of Alexandria? ›

3.2). Bing has argued that the reference is to all deities who protect seafarers, Zeus pre-eminent among them—just as Posidippus refers to "Zeus the Saviour" and "the Greeks' saviour god" (Zeus Soter). Too, it is the statue of Zeus that crowned the lighthouse.

How did the Lighthouse of Alexandria get destroyed? ›

Destruction. The lighthouse was partially cracked and damaged by earthquakes in 796 and 951, followed by structural collapse in the earthquake of 956, and then again in 1303 and 1323.

How long did the Lighthouse of Alexandria survive? ›

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was basically a 40-story building that managed to survive for 1500 years. Given the lifespan of most structures throughout history, the fact that it survived that long while still serving its original purpose for most of that time is remarkable.

How did Alexandria's lighthouse become so well known? ›

While it was not the first lighthouse in History, the Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt is undoubtedly the most famous: erected at the end of the 3rd century B.C.E., the building was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and was considered, from its completion after 15 years' work, to be one of the most ...

What is the oldest 7 wonder of the world? ›

Pyramids of Giza, the oldest of the wonders and the only one of the seven substantially in existence today.

Which of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was located at Alexandria? ›

The last one on the list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was the Lighthouse of Alexandria. This was also the most famous lighthouse in antiquity. The building was the work of Sostrates of Cnidus. It was standing on the island of Pharos (lighthouse in Greek) in the harbor of Alexandria.


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