Famously one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was the world’s first ever lighthouse, constructed in the 3rd century BC by Ptolemy I. An incredible architectural achievement of its time, the lighthouse took over two decades to complete and, at 450 feet (137 meters) tall, ranked among the world’s tallest structures for centuries after. It stood as a commanding force in Alexandria’s harbor for hundreds of years before being destroyed by a series of earthquakes that sent huge stones into the bay.
Today, almost nothing remains of the former world wonder, although the seaside Citadel of Qaitbay was built in its place using lighthouse ruins in 1480. The well-preserved medieval fortress offers visitors great views of Alexandria’s skyline and out to sea, plus the knowledge of its location’s historical significance. Travelers can walk the ramparts and wander the staircases while keeping an eye out for granite details that may have come from the lighthouse. In addition, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities has recently approved plans to reconstruct the ancient landmark, but details of the project are yet to be released.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was located at the tip of Alexandria’s harbor. Today, the Citadel of Qaitbay stands in its place on Pharos Island and is open daily from 8am-5pm. Admission to the citadel is E£30.