Pharos lighthouse

Pharos lighthouse

Built by architect Sostratus during the reign of Egypt's Ptolemy 2nd, the Pharos lighthouse was a 120m tall granite tower that burned wood and had a range of up to 55km.

From ancient times, people used devices including torches as navigational aids to help vessels reach their destination safely. With a civilization that began 4000 years ago, the Chinese routinely travelled on rivers and across seas and they used landmarks on riverbanks or coastlines as navigational aids.

The first record of lighthouses appear in the Mediterranean in the 4th century BC. The record mentions a torch being lit during the night in order to guide vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. Powerful waves would rise in the North African sea stretching from Libya to Egypt during winter which made sea voyage difficult. As such, Libyans and Chushites invented a device that helped vessels navigate the sea and called it the "fire tower". However, today it is accepted that the tower erected on the small island of Pharos located at the mouth of Egypt's Port Alexandria in 280 BC was the first lighthouse in the world. The tower was lit day and night to make it easy for seafarers to search the light. The name of this lighthouse was the "Pharos lighthouse". Today, we are unable to see the Pharos lighthouse, which guided seafarers for 1600 years, since it was destroyed after suffering from two earthquakes. During the 2nd century AD, a lighthouse was constructed in La Coruna in Spain and many more followed across the Mediterranean coast. Lighthouses in its contemporary iteration, however, were first built during the 17th century.