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[[File: Lighthouse.jpg|300px|thumbnail|left|Nineteenth Century Depiction of the Lighthouse of Alexandria]]
Of all the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt still remain. War, neglect, and natural disasters have wiped them from the face of the earth with only descriptions left by ancient historians and geographers, or perhaps an occasional coin or painting, as tokens of their greatness. Since the Seven Wonders were first formulated by Greeks, most of the Wonders were located in and around Greece, but two of them were found in Egypt. Of course, as mentioned, the Great Pyramids of Giza are located in Egypt, but along with the Pyramids was the much younger but no less impressive Lighthouse of Alexandria, often called the “Pharos Lighthouse” for the island in the Mediterranean that it occupied. Among all the Seven Wonders, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was one of the most practical because it helped facilitate trade in and out of Egypt. In terms of age, the Lighthouse of Alexandria existed in its original form, more or less, for about 1,000 years, which made it among the longest lived of the Seven Wonders. Because the Lighthouse no longer exists and has not for almost 1,000 years, great mystery surrounds its size and structure, but even greater is the perceived mystery of its destruction. Perhaps because it is often confused and/or included with the famed Library of Alexandria, rumors and falsehoods have persisted about the Lighthouse’s demise. An examination of the sources reveals that the Lighthouse of Alexandria fell victim to a number factors that led to its destruction including earthquakes and salt water erosion. Along with the damage the Lighthouse suffered from the elements, its prestige, and the prestige of the city of Alexandria itself, was greatly diminished when the Arab Muslims conquered Egypt in AD 642. To the Muslims, Alexandria was just not as important as it was to the Greeks and Romans and so they allowed the already decaying Lighthouse to fall further into disuse until they finally changed its function.
===The Construction of the Lighthouse===
A number of devastating earthquakes that rocked Egypt during the medieval period probably caused most of the damage to the Lighthouse. One particularly strong earthquake, which was felt all over Egypt and as far away as Syria, destroyed the top level of the tower in 956. <ref> Claire, p. 94</ref> Along with repeated earthquakes, erosion caused by the salt of the Mediterranean Sea appears to have played no insignificant role in the Lighthouse’s demise. Repeated wind-borne salt erosion would have caused damage to the exterior of the Lighthouse, which was already in disrepair due to the repeated earthquakes. <ref> Claire, p. 123</ref> Although earthquakes and salt air erosion caused significant damage to the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the wonder still could have been rebuilt. The Lighthouse of Alexandria’s final demise came not through any single event, but was more the result of a cultural and demographic shift in the region.
Alexandria was a city built by Greeks and then inherited by the Romans and later the Byzantine Empire. To these peoples, Alexandria was an important place in their empires and the Lighthouse was the physical focal point of the city, both literally and metaphorically. When the Arab Muslims conquered Egypt in AD 642, they viewed the city of Alexandria and the Lighthouse in very different manner. Although the Muslims were impressed with certain aspects of Hellenic Civilization, they were not part of it and monuments such as the Seven Wonders of the World list were of little consequence to them. Egypt played an important role in the new caliphate, but the newly built city of Cairo, not Alexandria, became the focal point of medieval Egypt. With that said, the Muslims did not totally abandon Alexandria or the Lighthouse. As mentioned above, Ibn Battuta knew of the Lighthouse, but by his time, it had long ceased to function as an actual lighthouse. During the ninth century, about a century before the large earthquake destroyed the top level, the lighthouse was converted into a mosque. <ref> Claire, p. 94</ref> It is not known if the rulers of Egypt attempted to rebuild the Lighthouse-mosque after the devastating earthquake of the tenth century, but it is known that the Sultan Qaitbay converted what was left of the Lighthouse into a fort in 1480. <ref> Claire, p. 138</ref>