Ancient Egypt was home to several architectural wonders including the Great Pyramids Of Giza. Besides the pyramid, Egypt also built a lighthouse which is considered to be the primeval structure of all the future lighthouses. Named as the Pharos Lighthouse, this lighthouse was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world because of its splendid architecture. This archaic lighthouse is located on the small island of Pharos on the outskirts of Alexandria’s harbors.
Building Of The Pharos Lighthouse
Sostratus of Cnidus began the construction of this lighthouse and the building work finished in 280 BCE during the rule of Soter’s successor Ptolemy II. The constructed work continued for twelve years. The cost of construction for this lighthouse was 800 talents of silver It was 350 feet tall. Historians believe that this lighthouse was one of the tallest human-constructed buildings in the ancient world. Limestone was the main constituent of this huge building.
Purpose of The Pharos Lighthouse
According to ancient sources of history, it would lead the way of the sailors and protect them from the dangers of the sea. It was dedicated to Greek gods Zeus and Soter. The eulogies of these two gods were inscribed in high letters at the top of the lighthouse. It was probably the first monument in the world to guide the sailors.
This ancient lighthouse used to function as a monument for navigating the location of the harbor. It also warned the sailors about the heavy waves and sunken rocks in the sea of Alexandria.
Destruction Of The Lighthouse
The lighthouse managed to stand in Pharos for almost 1600 years but its structure started to get weaker due to the high frequency of earthquakes. The Egyptian records suggest that the structure finally collapsed in 1375 AD. The ruins of the lighthouse existed in the site until 1480. Later, a fortress came up on Pharos island using the remaining stones of the lighthouse. The fortress even exists today.
Current Research About The Pharos Lighthouse
A team of archeologists surveyed through the bottom of the Alexandrian sea in 1994 to find remaining parts of the main structure. In this survey, archeologists discovered large blocks of stone and ruined sculptures from the bottom of the sea. The archeologists believed that the large stones have come from the original structure of the lighthouse. Now, the whole sea site exists as an underwater archeological park. Travelers can swim through the ruins of the ancient lighthouse through the help of swimming gears.
Today, you can see the symbol of the lighthouse on the flag of Alexandria. Many proposals of resurrecting a new model of the ancient lighthouse have been raised but many organizations have opposite opinions have been raised against this. The model of this archaic lighthouse has become an inspiration for constructing lighthouses across the countries in the Mediterranean sea. Among the six vanished wonders of the ancient world, the Pharos Lighthouse was the last one to go. Though the lighthouse has not survived, its enthralling stories still give us goosebumps.