The Lighthouse of Alexandria

The Lighthouse of Alexandria

The Lighthouse of Alexandria Overview, History, and Facts

The Lighthouse of Alexandria is an amazing masterpiece of design and engineering. It was built in the Ptolemy dynasty when the Ptolemy II Philadelphus was in charge. The Lighthouse is located on a small island called Pharos it is used to help sailors to find their way in the busy Alexandria harbor. Moreover, it is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was so important for navigation in the sea and added a taste of beauty to Alexandria and its builders. Additionally, You could see its bright light from far away, which still fascinates people today. In this blog post, we’ll talk about where it came from, how it was built, why it was so important back then, and why it still matters now.

1. Origins and Construction of the Lighthouse of Alexandria

  • The Visionary Architect: Sostratus of Cnidus

The idea of building the Lighthouse is believed to have come from a Greek architect named Sostratus of Cnidus. Moreover, He worked for Ptolemy I Soter, the leader of Egypt at the time. He planned to build something new and unique in that time to leave his mark on Egypt. Notably, Sostratus knew what needed to be built he wanted to build something big and impressive that would help ships navigate and also show how great the city of Alexandria was.

  • Engineering Techniques and Materials

The lighthouse was one of the tallest buildings in the world during its time. It stands at 100 to 135 meters it was built on the island of Pharos on the coastline of Alexandria. The construction of the Lighthouse started around 280 BCE and finished during the reign of  Ptolemy II Philadelphus the son of  Ptolemy I. The construction took around 20 years to be finished as the journey of this great architect started to light up the Mid Sea.

Additionally, the Lighthouse consisted of three levels, a lower square section, a middle octagonal section, and a circular top. On the other hand, on the very top of the lighthouse, a large statue is believed to be of Poseidon or Zeus the god of the sea holding a trident or a lightning bolt. Notably, the Pharos of Alexandria was the tallest structure in the world till the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889.

Lighthouse of Alexandria Computer generated 3D

2. The Lighthouse of Alexandria at Its Best

  • The Lighthouse’s Functionality

The main idea of the building was to guide sailors and ships in the night to the city’s harbor. Earlier before building the lighthouse, it was hard for the ship to reach the harbor of Alexandria due to the rocky coastline, especially at night. Before, the construction of the lighthouse ships could only enter the harbor during the day, and even then, there was a risk of running aground or colliding with hidden obstacles. The lighthouse changed all that.  Thanks to the lighthouse the sailors and ships now can see the lighthouse from a distance. It allowed them to locate the harbor and safely arrive at the shore. This opens up a great route for trading with the Greek islands in the Eastern Mediterranean and other territories surrounding the sea.

Sostratus of Cnidus wanted to make sure that the lighthouse was seen from far away. Most people who wrote about it said it was white, which made it stand out against the city and the ocean. Additionally, Sostratus added a fire or a light at the top so it becomes easier to spot. It helps sailors avoid creating their ships. So, the lighthouse’s color and the bright light coming from it made it useful for navigation. This meant fewer accidents and safer travels for everyone coming in and out of Alexandria by sea.

  • Let’s Talk About How the Lighthouse Looked

The Lighthouse of Alexandria wasn’t just useful for navigation, it was also really beautiful and impressive. At the very bottom, there were statues of Tritons, who were like the Greek gods of the sea. These statues were there to protect the lighthouse. Inside, a spiral ramp twisted up, which was used to carry fuel to the top to keep the light going. Way up at the very top, there might have been a statue of Zeus or Poseidon, both super important gods, looking out over the ocean. So, the lighthouse was not just practical but also a work of art, with lots of cool details that made it extra special

3. Historical Significance of the Lighthouse

  • Symbol of Power and Prosperity

Indeed Alexandria at that time was a very important point for trading and connecting the Greeks and other parts of the world to the Middle East. During that time, Alexandria was like the New York or London of the ancient world. Moreover, Alexandria was a very important hub for trading culture, education, and much more. Scholars from all over came to study at the famous Library of Alexandria, and traders brought goods and knowledge from far-off lands.

The Lighthouse shows Alexandria’s wealth and power, and it symbolizes the city’s openness to the world. So, the Lighthouse of Alexandria wasn’t just a practical tool for sailors; it was an iconic symbol that embodied the spirit and prestige of the entire city. It continues to inspire awe and curiosity, even to this day.

  • How Lighthouses Influence Maritime Navigation

The Lighthouse of Alexandria wasn’t just a landmark, but it was a revolution in the construction and design fields. It revolutionized how people design things and build a structure that adds value to society. The term “Pharos” came from the island of Pharos where the lighthouse stood. eventually became another word for “lighthouse” in many languages. This shows just how influential this ancient structure was and how it continues to shape the way we talk about navigation even today.

4. Legends and Mysteries About The Lighthouse of Alexandria

  • Myths Surrounding the Lighthouse

Over the centuries, the Lighthouse has been related to some myths and legends. One of the myths claims that it housed magical mirrors capable of setting enemy ships on fire. While others speak of hidden treasures buried beneath its foundations. Notably, some pirates’s treasures waiting to be discovered. Such stories add mystery and adventure to the already fascinating history of the lighthouse. While we may never know the truth behind these myths, they certainly add more mystery and suspense to the truth behind it.

  • Archaeological Discoveries and Theories

Indeed, we are still influenced by the story of the Lighthouse of Alexandria even in modern times. Thanks to the dedicated work of archaeologists and explorers. The discovery of its remains underwater near the coast of Alexandria has opened a window into the past. Additionally, these discoveries provide valuable clues about how this ancient wonder was built and designed.

Through these findings, we’ve gained a better understanding of the construction. Indeed, the techniques and materials used by ancient engineers were ahead of their time. However, there’s still a lot about the lighthouse that remains a mystery. So, even today, people are curious and excited to discover more about this ancient wonder. It’s like a big puzzle that we’re slowly putting together, and each new piece reveals a bit more of its incredible history.

Lighthouse of Alexandria

5. What Happened to the Lighthouse and Its Lasting Impact

  • Natural Disasters: Earthquakes and Their Impact

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was pretty tough but because of earthquakes that struck the island in the 1000s and 1400s a series of strong earthquakes rattled the structure, causing cracks and damage. Those earthquakes sure didn’t play around. The first one recorded was in 796 and then another one came in 951 and it was stronger than the first.  These two quakes probably caused the lighthouse to get some cracks by the end of that century. But wait, there’s more! In 956, a really big earthquake caused part of it to fall down.

If you thought that was it, think again! In 1303, an enormous earthquake started on a Greek island called Crete. It was the biggest one it made the island of Pharos not useful anymore. That meant the lighthouse wasn’t as important as it used to be. And just to finish the job, there were a couple more earthquakes in 1323 that made the already hurt lighthouse even more damaged. So, those earthquakes gave the lighthouse a hard time.

  • Finding the Pieces of Lighthouse

In more recent times, explorers have found the remains of the lighthouse under the water. They’ve seen big blocks and statues that were once part of this super cool building. These discoveries help us imagine how awesome the lighthouse must’ve been, and we can learn more about how it was built and what it meant to people back then.


Even though the Lighthouse of Alexandria is not here anymore, it was one of the Seven Wonders of The World. It still shows us how Egypt through time was a place for all kinds of fields. People believed that Egypt was not a place like any other. it still shows us how clever and ambitious people were back in the day. All of these things remind us of how creative and determined folks were in the ancient world, and that inspires us even now. The Lighthouse of Alexandria might be gone, but its legacy continues to guide us, just like it guided ships back in the day. It’s a cool reminder that even the oldest ideas can still light the way for new adventures and discoveries.

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