OUR NAME - Pharos

Pharos of Alexandria – World's First Lighthouse
With accounts that date back to earliest recorded history, Egypt was a center of wealth, trade and commerce. Early mariners would approach the double harbor of Alexandria with great anticipation, but also with much fear as the unpredictable coastline posed great risk. Dividing the two harbors was the ancient island of Pharos, connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land.

The great Pharaoh Ptolemy Soter conceived the idea for a massive monument on Pharos that would be lighted by the sun and mirrors during the day, and illuminated by fires at night. He commanded the architect Sostratus to orchestrate the building of a colossal lighthouse.

Completed in 270 B.C. using a massive labor force, the tower reached a height of 384 feet, equivalent to a 40-story modern building. Encased in fine white marble, the beacon's summit was topped with a magnificent statue, most likely of Poseidon, the Lord of the seas. As the tallest building on Earth, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was illuminated by fire and its flame magnified by a mysterious mirror. The mirror, possibly made of polished bronze, was said to have reflected light more than 35 miles offshore. Because of the desert landscape and barren foliage, some speculate that the flame was fueled by oil, which would have been carried up the maze of ramps and staircases inside the tower by animals and on the backs of strong laborers.

In AD 1303, a violent earthquake shook the ground beneath Pharos, cracking and permanently damaging the massive structure. Many of the massive stones fell into the harbor. Later, an Egyptian Sultan, Qait Bey, used the remaining stone and marble to erect a medieval fort on the site, eradicating the former lighthouse.

Pharos was so famous, that the term means 'lighthouse' in many languages. Thus, the study of lighthouses became 'Pharology'. A tribute to its exceptional architecture, the Pharos Lighthouse guided sailors into the city for 1,500 years and was the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to disappear.

Excavators have found great blocks of stone (weighing 50 to 75 tons) in the harbor that at first appeared to be random pieces, but are now suspected to be from the great Pharos lighthouse. Divers retrieved fragments with detailed markings, hundreds of columns and inscribed blocks from the sea. These are on exhibit at the open-air museum near the Roman amphitheater in Alexandria.

Egyptian authorities have approved the building of a modern version of Pharos on the same site as the ancient monument. The proposed glass-covered, concrete tower will stand 145 meters high (approximately 475 feet) and will cost $70 million to complete. The glass walls will reflect sunshine during the day and a beacon will cast a light 37 miles out to sea in the dark of night.  

Pharos Hospitality
320 South Tryon Street, Suite 202 • Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 333-1818