The Lighthouse of Alexandria

The Lighthouse of Alexandria is often also referred to as "The Pharos of Alexandria". This particular structure, which was a tower, was constructed as early as 285 BC or as late as 247 BC. In the area of Alexandria, Egypt there is an island that is called "Pharos". This is where this mysterious tower was erected. The original goal of the building was to act as a landmark for the port. Eventually, though, it would come to serve as the lighthouse of the area. It is believed that the Lighthouse of Alexandria stood as high as 440 feet. A famous poet identified as "Antipater of Sidon" referred to the structure as a spectacular structure and felt that it qualified as one of the popular "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World".

For as long as historical buildings have been evaluated, the Lighthouse of Alexandria is considered to have been one of the top three tallest structures in the world. It is preceded by the two pyramids identified as "Khufu" and "Khafra". During the years of 956, 1303, and 1323, the immense structure received damage as a result of earthquakes that occurred in the area. The citizens of the time used a mixture of fire and reflective mirror like material in order to provide the lighting needed by ships to discover the port. Claims indicate that the light was so immense that ships as far out to sea as 35 miles could see the distinct light coming from the mysterious lighthouse. There are also legends that the fire emitted from the port was so protective that ships that contained enemies would be consumed at sea so that they would not reach the shores where the lighthouse stood.

In the year of 1183, a traveler that was Muslim by the name of Ibn Jubayr observed the Lighthouse of Alexandria and made the following observation:

"Description of it falls short, the eyes fail to comprehend it, and words are inadequate, so vast is the spectacle..."

In the year of 1994, scuba divers that specialize in archaeology searched the water near where the magnificent structure stood. They were able to successfully discover many different pieces of block and other construction materials. It is a mystery as to why the structure finally collapsed into the Mediterranean Sea. It has been established that the fall likely occurred in the year of 1326. Many theories abound surrounding the final collapse, but many agree that the earthquakes of the area probably resulted in the complications.

There are many other theories that indicate that the structure may have been purposely demolished due to rumors that there were great treasures buried underneath the structure. It is believed that a man identified as the "Caliph at Cairo" was told of a rumor from a neighboring port that extremely valuable treasures were under the building in order to eliminate the port as a navigation system into the area. While this is just a legend, could it have been what led to the fall of the Lighthouse of Alexandria? This remains to be one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the world.

Return To The Lighthouse Of Alexandria Top Of Page

Return To Ancient Mysteries Main Page

Return To Greatest Unsolved Mysteries Home Page