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Seven wonders of the world: lighthouse of Alexandria

The lighthouse of Alexandria is one of the wonders in the classic “Seven wonders of the world”list. The name comes from the city of Alexandria (Egypt), near which the lighthouse was built. Often use another name – Pharos lighthouse (or Pharos), as the lighthouse was located on the small island of Pharos, connected to Alexandria by a pier. The lighthouse was built in the III century BC, so that merchant ships could safely pass the reefs on the way to Alexandria Bay.

Lighthouse of Alexandria
However, the lighthouse not only served as a landmark for sailors, but was also used as an observation Outpost to defend against an attack on Alexandria from the sea.

The lighthouse-fortress
After reading this article, you will learn all about the lighthouse of Alexandria:

Why is the lighthouse of Alexandria called the wonder of the world?
What did the lighthouse of Alexandria look like?
What happened to the lighthouse of Alexandria?
Legends of the lighthouse of Alexandria
Lighthouse of Alexandria on the map of Egypt
Video ” lighthouse of Alexandria»

Why is the lighthouse of Alexandria called the wonder of the world?
Like such wonders of the world as the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the lighthouse of Alexandria was included in the list of wonders of the world due to its large-scale size. The height of the lighthouse is supposed to be 120 meters, which can be compared with a modern forty-storey house.

Lighthouse of Alexandria-one of the seven wonders of the world
What did the lighthouse of Alexandria look like?
Today we can see only one of the seven wonders of the classical list (the Pyramid of Cheops): the rest of the miracles from this list have not survived to the present day. There is no exact reliable description of the Pharos lighthouse, but you can imagine how it looked by studying the stories of contemporaries about the lighthouse from different sources.

What did the lighthouse of Alexandria look like?
The lighthouse of Alexandria stood on a massive granite base and looked like a huge three-tiered tower surrounded by a fortress wall. The walls of the legendary lighthouse were built of granite and limestone blocks, fastened with a solution with the addition of lead. Marble was used as a facing material.

Description of the lighthouse of Alexandria
I (lower) tier
The first (lower) tier of the lighthouse with a square base resembled a fortress or castle with towers installed at the corners. The towers were oriented to the cardinal points. The height of the tier reached about sixty meters. The flat roof of the lower tier served as the basis for the second tier. There were statues of newts on the roof. Inside the first tier housed the garrison guarding the lighthouse, and maintenance personnel, as well as the necessary equipment and supplies of water and food in the event of a siege.

II (middle) tier
The second (middle) tier with an octagonal base rose another forty meters. Inside the second tier, a ramp was presumably built, along which fuel for the signal fire was raised to the third (upper) tier.

III (upper) tier
On the third cylindrical tier were installed columns supporting the dome of the lighthouse. On the platform among columns kindled a signal fire. The light of the signal fire was reflected and amplified by a system of polished bronze plates.

On the dome of the lighthouse was a huge Golden statue of Poseidon. Poseidon seemed to be guarding The Pharos lighthouse, gazing out over the sea.

What happened to the lighthouse of Alexandria?
For more than a thousand years, the lighthouse has helped navigators to avoid reefs and shoals on the way to Alexandria Bay. In the IV-V centuries ad Alexandria, developed through trade, began to lose its global importance, the city itself fell into decay. Without proper maintenance, the lighthouse of Alexandria began to collapse. At the end of the VIII century the lighthouse was badly damaged by an earthquake. After that, unsuccessful attempts were made to reconstruct the unique lighthouse. By the XIV century, the height of the lighthouse was only thirty meters. The lighthouse of Alexandria was completely destroyed by an earthquake in the XIV century. The wreckage of the legendary lighthouse was used to build the fortress of Kite Bay, which now houses the Maritime Museum.

Fort Qaitbay
Legends of the lighthouse of Alexandria
The construction of the lighthouse of Alexandria was entrusted to master Sostratus of Cnidia. According to legend, under the leadership of Sostrat, the lighthouse was built in record time-in just five years.

Faroese lighthouse
King Ptolemy of Egypt had his name engraved on the lighthouse of Alexandria to glorify himself as the Creator of one of the wonders of the world. Sostratos, however, was so proud of the work he had done that he first stamped out his name, and then, covering his signature with a thick layer of plaster, wrote the name of the king of Egypt. Over time, the plaster crumbled, and the world saw the signature of the real Creator of the lighthouse.

Lighthouse Sostrata
Contemporary sailors claimed that the signal light of Pharos was visible more than fifty kilometers from the coast.

Signal light of the lighthouse of Alexandria
Legend has it that The Pharos lighthouse had extraordinary statues of tritons: one of them always pointed a finger at the sun and lowered his hand when the sun went down; the other always pointed the direction of the wind and was used as a weather vane.

Ancient Egyptian lighthouse
According to legend, the light of the lighthouse of Alexandria burned enemy ships before they had time to approach the port.

The burning light of the lighthouse of Alexandria
There are many other interesting legends about this ancient skyscraper. It is a pity that we cannot see this wonder of the world with our own eyes and verify the authenticity of the stories that have come down to us.

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