The Wonder of the Lighthouse of Alexandria -Ahmad Ullah
One cannot but wonder, looking back at the ancient architecture. Thousands of years ago, ancient people created some structures that still amaze people. Egypt, the land of the Nile and the Pyramids, is at the centre of interest for all its wonders. Many ancient architectures, including the Egyptian pyramids and the hanging gardens of Babylon, are still mysterious.
In ancient times, when waterways were people’s only hope, they used various techniques to get the right direction in the deep sea. For example, before the invention of the compass, people used to determine the direction by looking at the poles. Thus lighthouses were built to mark the coastal port. A fire was lit at the peak of this lighthouse, which attracted the attention of sailors from afar. As a result, sailors could easily reach the port with their ships.
Such a lighthouse was built in the city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. At that time, Alexandria was the most important port in Egypt and one of the busiest in the world. Located on the banks of the Nile, the city quickly developed into a commercial port city.
In 290 BC, the then King of Egypt, Ptolemy I, took the initiative to build this huge lighthouse to commemorate his power and glory. But he could not finish the construction of the lighthouse in his lifetime. About 20 years later, during the reign of his successor, Ptolemy II, the construction of the lighthouse completed. The lighthouse was listed as one of the ancient Seven Wonders for its spectacular architectural style.
The foundation stone of the lighthouse was laid at the height of about 110 feet. A lighthouse more than 300 feet high was built on top of this huge structure. At that time, it was the highest lighthouse. The lighthouse could be seen from about 50 miles away. As a result, sailors from far and wide could easily identify the port of Alexandria.
Just looking at the pyramids shows how skilled the Egyptians were in construction. The lighthouse in Alexandria also reflected the Egyptian style of construction.
A study by Thiers in 1909 gave some information about the construction of this lighthouse.
The design of the lamp room was divided into three parts, the lower side of which was quadrangular. The middle part was octagonal. And the top part was cylindrical. At the top of it was a continuous fire extinguisher. A wide spiral path was built to reach the top of the lighthouse. With the help of which fuel was carried from the bottom to the top.
Fire lamps were vigorously burning day and night with care and maintenance. Plenty of wood was always stored on the first floor of the lighthouse to keep the fire burning. Through the smoke from the fire during the day and the brightness of the fire at night, the sailors could trace out Alexandria port. It was visible up to an area of ??about 50 km around the lighthouse in Alexandria. As long as the lighthouse of Alexandria survived, its flames were never extinguished for a second.
Not only did this lighthouse guide the ships, but It also became a centre of observation for astronomers and soldiers. According to some manuscripts, there was plenty of technical equipment like- a meteorological instrument, many astronomical and even geographical instruments.
The lighthouse of Alexandria was originally built only to mark the port. But due to its architectural style, it quickly became a tourist destination. It was the most beautiful and highest lighthouse, so people came from far and wide to see it. Tourists from different parts of the world used to visit it. Although many lighthouses were later built imitating the style of Alexandria lighthouse, none of them was as large as this one.
The Egyptian coast has been hit hard by repeated earthquakes since the 900’s. There have been several earthquakes in the vicinity of the lighthouse before, which severely damaged the lighthouse. Later, in the 14th century, a strong earthquake destroyed the lighthouse.
During a study, archaeologists discovered the wreckage of more than forty ships in the lighthouse area. A ruin was recovered from the coastal port of Alexandria in the late twentieth century. According to historians, it was the ruins of a lighthouse. In 1994, archaeologist John-Eves Empire, the founder of the Alexandrian Studies Center, discovered hundreds of masonry carvings at the bottom of the Faroe Islands. It is thought when the lighthouse was destroyed, these masons were submerged in the seawater.
The lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the ancient Seven Wonders, has glorified human progress. Although the lighthouse did not exist, its magnificent construction style still arouses curiosity in people’s minds.