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The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also called as Pharos of Alexandria, is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous lighthouse in antiquity. It was a technological triumph and is the archetype of all lighthouses since then.
See the fact file below for more information on the Lighthouse of Alexandria or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Lighthouse of Alexandria worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria was built on the island of Pharos outside the harbours of Alexandria, Egypt c. 300 – 280 BCE, during the reigns of Ptolemy I and II.
- With a height of over 100 metres (330 ft), it was so impressive that it made it to the established list of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. For many centuries, it was considered to be one of the tallest man-made structures in the world.
- Unfortunately, the lighthouse was severely damaged by three earthquakes between AD 956 and 1323 and became an abandoned ruin. It was the third longest surviving ancient wonder, surviving in part until 1480, when the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the site.
THE CITY OF ALEXANDRIA
- Pharos was a small island located on the western edge of the Nile Delta. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria on an isthmus opposite of Pharos.
- Alexandria and Pharos were later connected by a mole spanning more than 1,200 metres (0.75 miles), which was called the Heptastadion.
- The east side of the mole became the Great Harbour, now an open bay, on the west side lay the port of Eunostos, with its inner basin Kibotos now vastly enlarged to form the modern harbour.
- Today’s city development lying between the present Grand Square and the modern Ras el-Tin quarter is built on the silt, which gradually widened and obliterated this mole, and the Ras el-Tin promontory represents all that is left of the island of Pharos, the site of the lighthouse at its eastern point having been weathered away by the sea.
- The lighthouse was constructed in the 3rd century BC. After Alexander the Great died, the first Ptolemy (Ptolemy 1 Soter) announced himself king in 305 BC, and commissioned its construction shortly thereafter.
- The building was finished during the reign of his son, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, and took twelve years to complete at a total cost of 800 talents of silver.
- The light was produced by a furnace at the top, and the tower was said to have been built mostly with solid blocks of limestone.
- The lighthouse was partially cracked and damaged by earthquakes in 796 and 951 followed by structural collapse in the earthquake of 956, and then again in 1303 and 1323.
- The damaging earthquakes propagate from two well known tectonic boundaries, the African- Arabian and Red Sea rift zones, respectively 350 and 520 km from the lighthouse’s location.
- Documentation shows the 956 earthquake to be the first to cause the structural collapse of the top 20+ meters of the construction. According to other documents, repairs after the 956 earthquake included the installment of a Islamic style dome after the collapse of the statue that previously topped the monument.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL THEORIES AND REDISCOVERY
- In 1968, the lighthouse was rediscovered. Unesco sponsored an expedition to send a team of marine archaeologists, led by Honor Frost to the site.
- The team confirmed the existence of ruins representing part of the lighthouse. Due to the lack of specialized archaeologists and the area becoming a military zone, exploration was put on hold.
- French archaeologists led by Jean-Yves Empereur rediscovered the physical remains of the lighthouse in late 1994 on the floor of Alexandria’s Eastern Harbour. He worked with cinematographer Asma el-Bakri who used a 35mm camera to capture the first underwater pictures of the scattered remains of collapsed columns and statues.
- Empereur’s most significant findings consisted of blocks of granite, 49-60 tonnes in mass often broken into multiple pieces, 30 sphinxes, 5 obelisks and columns with carvings dating back Ramses II (1279–1213 BC). The cataloging of over 3,300 pieces was completed by Empereur and his team at the end of 1995 using a combination of photography and mapping.
- Thirty-six pieces of Empereur’s granite blocks and other discoveries have been restored and are currently on display in Alexandria museums. Subsequent satellite imaging has revealed further remains.
Lighthouse of Alexandria Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Lighthouse of Alexandria across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Lighthouse of Alexandria worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Lighthouse of Alexandria, also called as Pharos of Alexandria, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous lighthouse in antiquity. It was a technological triumph and is the archetype of all lighthouses since then.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Lighthouse of Alexandria Facts
- Fact Check
- Once Upon a Lighthouse
- Lighthouse Timeline
- Alexander the Great
- Ancient Crossword
- The Pharos of Alexandria
- Lighthouse Trademark
- This is Alexandria
- More Explorers
- Let’s Make It Last
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Link will appear as Lighthouse of Alexandria Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 24, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.