Pharos Lighthouse - $4.95
Pharos Lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World the only one had a practical use in addition to its architectural elegance: The Lighthouse of Alexandria. For sailors, it ensured a safe return to the Great Harbor. For architects, it meant even more: it was the tallest building on Earth. For scientists, it was the mysterious mirror that fascinated them most. The mirror which reflection could be seen more than 35 miles off-shore.
Pharos Lighthouse- the Lighthouse of Alexandria
Captain Cangero designed this unique lighthouse model simply because he wanted to.. You can see his enthusiasm when you look at the great amount of detail he got into, It's truly a lighthouse model for the collector who wants something special (The model comes in a folder of 3 scales-HO-Scale shown above)
Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria
Shortly after the death of Alexander the Great, his commander Ptolemy Soter assumed power in Egypt. He had witnessed the founding of Alexandria, and established his capital there. Off of the city's coast lies a small island: Pharos. Its name, legend says, is a variation of Pharaoh's Island. The island was connected to the mainland by means of a dike - the Heptastadion - which gave the city a double harbor. And because of dangerous sailing conditions and flat coastline in the region, the construction of a lighthouse was necessary.
The project was conceived and initiated by Ptolemy Soter around 290 BC, but was completed after his death, during the reign of his son Ptolemy Philadelphus. Sostratus, a contemporary of Euclid, was the architect, but detailed calculations for the structure and its accessories were carried out at the Alexandria Library/Mouseion. The monument was dedicated to the Savior Gods: Ptolemy Soter (lit. savior) and his wife Berenice. For centuries, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (occasionally referred to as the Pharos Lighthouse) was used to mark the harbor, using fire at night and reflecting sun rays during the day. It was even shown on Roman coins, just as famous monuments are depicted on currency today.
When the Arabs conquered Egypt, they admired Alexandria and its wealth. The Lighthouse continues to be mentioned in their writings and travelers accounts. But the new rulers moved their capital to Cairo since they had no ties to the Mediterranean. When the mirror was brought down mistakenly, they did not restore it back into place. In AD 956, an earthquake shook Alexandria, and caused little damage to the Lighthouse. It was later in 1303 and in 1323 that two stronger earthquakes left a significant impression on the structure. When the famous Arab traveler Ibn Battuta visited Alexandria in 1349, he could not enter the ruinous monument or even climb to its doorway.
The final chapter in the history of the Lighthouse came in AD 1480 when the Egyptian Mamelouk Sultan, Qaitbay, decided to fortify Alexandria's defense. He built a medieval fort on the same spot where the Lighthouse once stood, using the fallen stone and marble.
Of the six vanished Wonders, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was the last to disappear. Therefore we have adequately accurate knowledge of its location and appearance. Ancient accounts such as those by Strabo and Pliny the Elder give us a brief description of the "tower" and the magnificent white marble cover. They tell us how the mysterious mirror could reflect the light tens of kilometers away. Legend says the mirror was also used to detect and burn enemy ships before they could reach the shore.
In 1166, an Arab traveler, Abou-Haggag Al-Andaloussi visited the Lighthouse. He documented a wealth of information and gave an accurate description of the structure which helped modern archeologists reconstruct the monument. It was composed of three stages: The lowest square, 183.4 ft high with a cylindrical core; the middle octagonal with a side length of 60 ft and a height of 90.1 ft; and the third circular 24 ft high. The total height of the building including the foundation base was about 384 ft, equivalent to a 40-story modern building. The internal core was used as a shaft to lift the fuel needed for the fire. At the top stage, the mirror reflected sunlight during the day while fire was used during the night. In ancient times, a statue of Poseidon adorned the summit of the building.
Although the Lighthouse of Alexandria did not survive to the
present day, it left its influence in various respects. From an
architectural standpoint, the
monument has been used as a model for many prototypes along the Mediterranean, as far away as Spain. And from a linguistic standpoint, it gave its name --Pharos -- to all the lighthouses in the world..
There are stories that this mirror could be used as a weapon to concentrate the sun and set enemy ships ablaze as they approached. Another tale says that it was possible to use the mirror to magnify the image of the city of Constantinople from far across the sea to observe what was going on there. Both of these stories seem implausible, though.
The lighthouse was apparently a tourist attraction. Food was sold to visitors at the observation platform at the top of the first level. A smaller balcony provided a view from the top of the eight-sided tower for those that wanted to make the additional climb. The view from there must have been impressive as it was probably 300 feet above the sea. There were few places in the ancient world where a person could ascend a man-made tower to get such a perspective.
How then did the world's first lighthouse wind up on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea? 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 1303 A.D. Reports indicate the final collapse came in 1326.
There is also an unlikely tale that part of the lighthouse was demolished through trickery. In 850 A.D. the Emperor of Constantinople, a rival port, devised a clever plot to get rid of the Pharos. He spread rumors that buried under the lighthouse was a fabulous treasure. When the Caliph at Cairo who controlled Alexandria heard these rumors, he ordered that the tower be pulled down to get at the treasure. It was only after the great mirror had been destroyed and the top two portions of the tower removed that the Caliph realized he'd been deceived. He tried to rebuild the tower, but couldn't, so he turned it into a mosque instead.
As colorful as this story is there does not seem to be much truth in it. Visitors in 1115 A.D. reported the Pharos intact and still operating as a lighthouse.
Did the divers actually find the remains of Pharos in the bottom of the harbor? Some of the larger blocks of stone found certainly seem to have come from a large building. Statues were located that may have stood at the base of the Pharos. Interestingly enough, much of the material found seems to be from earlier eras than the lighthouse. Scientists speculate that they may have been recycled in the construction of the Pharos from even older buildings.
There are plans to turn this site into an archaeological park with a lighthouse museum. In a few years visitors maybe able to rent snorkel gear and wet suits and dive in the bay among the remains of the great Pharos lighthouse.
Certainly, as an object of admiration on the part of the Arabs it also became an object of their care and there are several recorded instances of repairs being undertaken. In 1272, for example, the sultan, Salah el Din (Saladin), ordered certain restoration work. And so the Lighthouse survived into the 14th century.
On 8 August, 1303 a violent earthquake shook the eastern Mediterranean basin. The effects were felt in Greece, the Levant and in the Nile Delta. Alexandria was particularly badly hit. In fact, as Ibn Taghribardi wrote, "The princes in charge of religious foundations were for long occupied in repairing the damage inflicted upon schools, mosques and even the Lighthouse." It must have been pretty badly struck for the end was indeed nigh. In 1326, the Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, passed through Alexandria for the first time and recorded that he climbed the ramp leading to the tower entrance. On his return to the city in 1349 this was no longer possible. The Lighthouse was in ruins. It remained thus for just over a century until the Mamelouk sultan, Qaitbay, decided to construct a fort on the foundations and it is this fort which stands today.
A glance at Alexandria:
More than 2,000 years ago Alexandria was the capital and the greatest city of Egypt. Today, though it has been surpassed by Cairo in both size and importance, Alexandria is Egypt's foremost seaport and its second largest city. Roads, trains, and airlines connect it with Cairo, 223 kilometers up the Nile Delta to the southeast.
Miles of beautiful white sand along the Mediterranean coast
provide the setting for this trading city and holiday resort.
Summertime brings crowds of people to the beaches that stretch
to the suburbs of Agami in the west and Abu Quir in the east.
Clear, calm waters make Abu Quir a popular place for fishing and
other water sports. Unlike most Egyptian cities, Alexandria is
sometimes chilly and rainy in winter..