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Seven Wonders of the World - Lighthouse of Alexandria


Around 270 B.C.


On the ancient island Pharos, in the harbor of Alexandria, Egypt.


Alexander the Great started at least 17 cities with the name Alexandria. Most of them disappeared but Alexandria in Egypt prospered and is still around today. When Alexander died in 323 B.C., the city was completed by Ptolemy Soter, the new ruler of Egypt. The new city needed a symbol and a guide for the many trade ships that used the busy harbor. 20 years later, the Pharos was built. It was the first lighthouse ever built and one of the tallest structures in the world (around 400 feet (121.92 meters) high.)


Of the seven wonders of the world, there is only one remaining (Great Pyramid of Giza.) The Lighthouse of Alexandria was the last wonder to disappear. Earthquakes destroyed it in the 14th century A.D. Apparently, a mysterious mirror could reflect the light for almost 40 miles (around 50 km) away. This mirror was also able to detect and burn enemy ships before they reached the shore.

Imagine a 40-story high building. The inside of the building was used as a shaft to lift fuel needed for the fire. At the top, a mirror reflected sunlight during the day and fire was used during the night. Pharos was the island the lighthouse was on and it quickly became the name of the lighthouse. Look up Pharos in a French, Italian or Spanish dictionary and you'll see it means lighthouse.

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