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Pharos of Alexandria
Pharos of Alexandria or simply known as Lighthouse of Alexandria was built in the island of Pharos in Alexandria, Egypt. Because this lighthouse had become so well known, pharos became the etymology of the word lighthouse in Latin speaking countries.
Pharos of Alexandria first served solely as a landmark. Because there was no landmark that was built in the port of Pharos, it was deemed necessary to create one. It only became a lighthouse a few years after its construction.
It was designed by the Greek architect Sostratus under the authority of Ptolemy Philadephus. It was built in three stages. The lowest stage was a square, the middle was octagonal, and the highest stage was circular. A mirror was placed at the top to reflect sunlight during the day and fire was kept burning at nights, thus providing light to a huge portion of the harbor.
It was the first lighthouse in the world and the tallest building at the time with the exception of The Great Pyramid of Giza. Its height was about 384 feet or equivalent to a modern 40 storey building. It stood for 1500 years, the longest standing structure on the list of the seven wonders of the ancient world, again with the exception of The Great Pyramid of Giza. It was eventually destroyed by numerous earthquakes.
The Last Years of the Lighthouse
Earthquakes, natural disasters, and time are responsible for the many cracks and damages that occurred on the lighthouse. Because of its vulnerable condition, it was necessary to renovate the lighthouse. During its restoration, its height was lowered as an attempt to make it last longer. It stood for another 200 years after its restoration seeing its final days during the 12th century. Its ruins however remained on the site for another 100 years.