Alexandria's Lighthouse The lighthouse was built of light-colored stone and molten lead to make walls sturdy enough to resist the smashing waves. It reached around 450 feet tall. The bottom level was square, the middle level was octagonal, and the upper level was round. There were windows in all three levels for lighting the keepers' houses below. The lead was supplied by the melting down of old weapons and armor left over from Alexander the Great's campaigns.
The lighthouse was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was also called the Pharos or Beacon because of its ability to guide ships into port. Today, it is only about 90% intact. But even after almost two thousand years, it is an amazing sight to see this huge structure rising up out of the sea.
People have been using lamps and candles for illumination since prehistoric times, but it was not until much later that people started building structures where these new lights could be used effectively. Alexandrian Lamps The word "lamp" comes from the Greek word "pharos," which means "beacon." These early lamps burned oil or sperm (now known as whale oil). They were used not only for lighting but also for cooking food on boats at night without burning any more daylight than necessary.
In 535 B.C., the first stone lighthouse was built on Pentelicus near Piraeus (now part of Athens).
Although we commonly see a lighthouse as a tall, white conical tower, there are several design variants. It might be towering (where the land was extremely flat) or short and squat (where the ground was very flat). Some lighthouses have more than one storey above ground level.
Each variant has its advantages and disadvantages. The squatty kind is easier to defend against pirates - they need to dive under it to get at people on the shore! The taller kind is better for warning people away from dangerous areas.
The shape of a lighthouse affects how many people it needs to protect. There's a fine line between being seen as a welcome beacon of hope and becoming a dreaded warning not to go near their edge of the earth. So shapes that can be seen for miles around, such as cones or shells, are best for sending a clear message.
Some lighthouses are built into the side of a hill or rock face while others stand alone on a platform or beach. They're usually constructed out of stone or brick and contain a light source inside them. The light source can be anything from oil lamps to solar panels to radio transmitters.
The person in charge of a lighthouse is called the "lightkeeper".
Legacy. The Alexandria Lighthouse was designated the Seventh Wonder of the Ancient World. It was one of the longest-standing Wonders due to the outstanding quality of its architectural design. After the earthquakes destroyed the lighthouse, most of the stone was used to construct a fortification in the same location. Today's visitors can see some of the original stones inside this wall.
It is because of this legacy that the lighthouse has been called a "wonder." Its architect is still unknown today. Some scholars believe him to be Apollonius of Memphis, while others prefer someone else as a rival candidate. What we do know for sure is that it was built around 275 BC and demolished after about 10 years due to war damages. The keeper's house and parts of the foundation are all that remain today.
Modern historians think the destruction of the lighthouse was a mistake because it would have served as a signal tower during battles with Egypt's enemies. However, none of these events have been proven officially by archaeologists or historians. We just have their speculation based on evidence found at the site.
Furthermore, there are some artifacts that are only found at the site of the former lighthouse that indicate it may have had other functions than just lighting up the night sky. For example, some researchers believe it may have been used by the Egyptian army as a signal station where messages could be sent during battle conditions that would not be possible during the day time.
The lighthouse is no longer standing, after having stood for over 1,500 years. It lasted through several Egyptian administrations and battles, including the one that ended in the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. The last recorded keeper was forced to move the lantern inside the tower because of Arab raids. The lamp was never relit.
Today the site of the lighthouse is a small park with some remnants of its foundation near the sea wall. Although an original portion of the wall still stands, it is not open to the public.
The story of the Lighthouse of Alexandria has been told many times before, but it remains one of history's great mysteries. Some believe the lighthouse may have been destroyed during one of Egypt's many wars, while others think it could have been demolished by order of the Caliph Al-Ma'mun to destroy evidence of the use of light for guiding ships at night. However, most historians agree that the lighthouse was finally destroyed in 969 AD during a naval battle between Arabs and Greeks in which Abu Salim (also known as Abul Hassan) was killed.
Since then, no trace of the lighthouse has been found, suggesting it might be made of wood and therefore likely destroyed in the fire that also destroyed much of the city.
It was made from 1.25 million bricks and was the highest brick lighthouse tower in the world at the time. Even now, it is the highest structure of its kind in the country. To get to the light, you must climb 268 stairs. The lantern room is about where floor 7 begins; it has been restored and is open to the public.
The original lens was a fourth-order Fresnel lens with over 600 individual pieces of glass. It was manufactured by F.W. Woolworth & Co. and weighed almost 20 tons. This was one of the most advanced lenses of its time. The keeper's house also contains some antique equipment including a windmill that used to supply power to the lights until electricity was brought to the island in 1934.
The brick for the lighthouse was hauled from as far away as Pennsylvania and Maryland but mostly came from a brickyard near by on Roanoke Island. The yard was owned by someone who worked at the lighthouse; his son also worked there so they probably built it themselves.
There are actually three lighthouses called "Cape Lookout". This one is located on Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina. The other two are private residences with no connection to the national park.