Alexandria's Fort of Qaitbey and the Pharos


The fort occupies the site of the Pharos, Alexandria's great lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world which was a combination of aesthetic beauty and technical ambitions. Built during Ptolemy II's reign (ca. 270 BC), it contained 300 rooms at it's square base and exceeded 125 meters in height with a statue of Poseidon at its summit. It's light is thought to have been visible 56 km away. In 1303 an earthquack reduced the whole structure to rubble.

The lighthouse had been gone for a century when the Mamluk sultan Qaitbey ordered the construction of a fort. Fort Qaitbey is an Alexandrian landmark with great views of the city and the Mediterranean. Within the keep is a mosque and a naval museum including Ottoman weaponry and pieces recovered from Napoleon's fleet. The fort's enclosure walls have some huge red granite pillars which in all likelyhood came from the ancient lighthouse.