The Lighthouse of Alexandria (often called the "Pharos of Alexandria. It was built in the 3rd century BC and remained operational until it was largely destroyed by two earthquakes in the 14th century. The Lighthouse of Alexandria was at least The entire structure was about 400 feet tall including the base and stood for over 16 Centuries - from the mid-3rd century B.C. to the 14th century A.D. when an earthquake shook its remaining segments down. At its apex was positioned a mirror which reflected sunlight during the day; a fire was lit at
ight. Pharos later became the etymological origin of the word 'lighthouse' in many romantic languages.
|| The Lighthouse was built under the reign of Ptolemy Soter but was finished under his son Ptolemy the second. Out of all the 7 wonders it was the only one that was used daily and it was the only one that had a practical use. It was the tallest of the 7 wonders. It was also the tallest most magnifcent lighthouse of all time.
Shortly after the death of Alexander the Great, his commander Ptolemy Soter assumed power in Egypt. He had witnessed the founding of Alexandria, and established his capital there. Off of the city's coast lies a small island, Pharos. Its name, legend says, is a variation of Pharaoh's Island. The island was connected to the mainland by means of a dike - the Heptastadion - which gave the city a double harbor. And because of dangerous sailing conditions and flat coastline in the region, the construction of a lighthouse was necessary.
The project was conceived and initiated by Ptolemy Soter around 290 BC, but was completed after his death, during the reign of his son Ptolemy Philadelphus. Sostratus, a contemporary of Euclid, was the architect, but detailed calculations for the structure and its accessories were carried out at the Alexandria Library/Mouseion. The monument was dedicated to the Savior Gods, Ptolemy Soter. It was even shown on Roman coins, just as famous monuments are depicted on currency today.
When the Arabs conquered Egypt, they admired Alexandria and its wealth. The Lighthouse continues to be mentioned in their writings and travelers accounts. But the new rulers moved their capital to Cairo since they had no ties to the Mediterranean. When the mirror was brought down mistakenly, they did not restore it back into place. In AD 956, an earthquake shook Alexandria, and caused little damage to the Lighthouse. It was later in 1303 and in 1323 that two stronger earthquakes left a significant impression on the structure. When the famous Arab traveler Ibn Battuta visited Alexandria in 1349, he could not enter the ruinous monument or even climb to its doorway.
The final chapter in the history of the Lighthouse came in AD 1480 when the Egyptian Mamelouk Sultan, Qaitbay, decided to fortify Alexandria's defense. He built a medieval fort on the same spot where the Lighthouse once stood, using the fallen stone and marble.