The Pharos at Alexandria


Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one had a practical use in addition to its architectural elegance: The Pharos (Lighthouse) of Alexandria. For sailors, it ensured a safe return to the Great Harbour. For architects, it meant even more: it was the tallest building on Earth. The story of the Pharos starts with the founding of the city Alexandria by the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great in 332BC. Alexander died in 323BC.

The city was completed by Ptolemy Soter, the new ruler of Egypt. Under Ptolemy, the city became rich and prosperous. The city needed a mechanism to guide the trade ships into its harbour. Ptolemy started building the lighthouse in 290BC. The lighthouse was built on the island of the Pharos. It was completed in 20 years and was the first light house in the world. It was also the tallest building in the world with the exception of the Great Pyramid. Most accounts indicate that it, like many other ancient buildings, was the victim of earthquakes. It stood for 1,500 years but was damaged by tremors in 365 and 1303AD. Reports indicate the final collapse came in 1326 the city was underneath by archaeological scuba divers in 1994.


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