Lighthouses Lighting the Way Since Early Times

Shadows Pub
8 min readFeb 12, 2023
St. Augustine Lighthouse, United States

Thousands of lighthouses are found around the world. For centuries they have aided those sailing the waterways in avoiding dangerous shorelines and to guide them into safe harbour. They are not only a physical guidepost, they are an endearing symbol of the importance of guidance and direction in our lives, physical and spiritual.

The first lighthouse, the Pharos of Alexandria, was built in ancient Egypt around 280BC by Ptolemy I and his son Ptolemy II. It stood 400 feet high on the island of Pharos in the harbour of Alexandria. It was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Pharos of Alexandria, on the island of Pharos, built around 280BC
Pharos of Alexandria, on the island of Pharos, built around 280BC

Through the following ages it was gradually destroyed by invaders and earthquakes before being completely destroyed in the 1300s. The Pharos Lighthouse remains a symbol of the ancient world’s engineering and architectural achievements, and its legacy continues to inspire architects and engineers to this day.

From there the practice of building lighthouses spread around the world warning ships and boats of rocks, shoals and underwater obstructions. They are usually built in the style of a tower to provide the height needed for mariners to see them from a great distance.

The styles do vary around the world depending on local materials, traditions and even culture. The light they emit helps mariners determine their location, set their course and to navigate safely.

Where Lighthouses Are Built

Lighthouses are typically built where there is a need for navigational assistance. They may be found:

- at the entrance to a harbour
- mouth of a river
- rocky coastline
- isolated island
- areas of heavy maritime traffic
- along rivers where hazards occur
- on inland lakes
- on inland canals

Factors that lead to a lighthouse being constructed include the surround geography, local weather conditions and the needs of those who…

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Shadows Pub

Writer | Publisher — I write what catches my interest. A lot catches my interest. I create books to use. Life is a marathon, set your pace & enjoy the trip.