The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria was almost 400ft tall which, in its day, made it the tallest man-made structure on earth, which cast a light from its giant bronze mirror could be seen over 35 miles offshore. The idea of a lighthouse was apparently concieved by Ptolemy Soter around 290 BC, but the bulk of the work was done by his son Ptolemy Philadelphus. Philadelphus employed the architect Sostratus of Knidos, who studied under Euclid, to build the structure. According to legend, Sostratus was so proud of his creation that he wished to have his name inscribed in the base, to sign his work as it were, but his request was refused and Ptolomy II had his name placed on the base instead. Sostratus was irritated that he had been ignored and so carved his message anyway before covering it in plaster and inscribing the name 'Ptolomy' over the top. Over a number of years the plaster fell away revealing the message original message underneath, which read:

SOSTRATES SON OF DEXIPHANES OF KNIDOS ON BEHALF OF ALL MARINERS TO THE SAVIOR GODS

According to measurements taken in 1166 by an Arab traveller, Abou-Haggag Al-Andaloussi, the Lighthouse was composed of three stages each of which was constructed from marble blocks held together with molten lead:

  • The lowest portion was rectangular 56m high
  • The central section was octagonal with a side length of 18m and a height of 28m
  • The highest span was a cylinder 7m high.

The total height of the building including the foundation base was about 117 m, and it was topped with a statue of the nautical god Posideon

The Lighthouse was the last of 6 fallen Wonders to be destroyed. In 956AD an earthquake shook Alexandria, but the Lighthouse was relatively undamaged, but it was not to be so lucky in the 'quakes of 1303, and 1323 which caused major structural damage as recounted by the famous Arab traveler Ibn Battuta when he visited Alexandria in 1349. The Lighthouse was completely destroyed in 1480 AD, after almost 1750 years in existence, when a medieval fort was built on the same place it once stood by the then Sultan of Egypt, Kait Bay

Dimension of the lighthouse are taken from http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/pharos.html

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