The Lighthouse of Alexandria

The lighthouse was localized, between 1994 and 1996, in the port of Alexandria by the French archaeologist Jean-Yves Empereur. This is one of the most known ancient monuments and also most often represented because it was one of the first lighthouses. Indeed, we even found souvenir objects with reproductions of the image of the lighthouse in Afghanistan.

The Lighthouse is located in Egypt on the island of Pharaos (which gave the french word «phare ») in front of the city of Alexandria. During the centuries, this island was connected with the continent by the alluviums of the Nile, on which we built a road and a bridge. The lighthouse, built on the island, was begun under Ptolemy II Philadelphus and ended around 280 BC by Sostratus of Cnidus.

The lighthouse counted three floors: the first one was squared, the second was octagonal and the third cylindrical. The white marble whole measured approximately 135 m (440 feet) height from where we could see ships located 100 miles far away. Angles were decorated with bronze tritons which was used either to warn of the approach of the enemy by terrifying sounds, but also to carry mirrors which, durung the night, reflected the light of a fire. In the daytime, the smoke indicated to the boats the entrance of the port.

Why is this a wonder of the ancient world ?

Its important height and its exemplary robustness made the lighthouse of Alexandria unique. Indeed it was exposed to a strong wind coming from the sea, that is why it should be inevitably resistant enought. This edifice is the symbol of the technical exploit shown by the Egyptians. Furthermore it was one of the first lighthouses.

Several illustrations :

The Lighthouse of Alexandria #1 The Lighthouse of Alexandria #2 The Lighthouse of Alexandria #3
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