Pharos wonder of world to be rebuilt

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The Independent Online
SEVEN HUNDRED years after it was destroyed by an earthquake, French engineers are to rebuild one of the seven wonders of the world - the giant Pharos lighthouse at Alexandria in Egypt.

The ancient masterpiece reincarnated in the form of a 500ft-high, glass- fronted obelisk, capable of projecting computer and laser generated lights in rainbow colours, was unveiled at the Expo' 98 world exhibition in Lisbon yesterday.

The pounds 30m tower of light, designed by Jacques Darolles, an engineer, will be funded by a charitable foundation set up by Pierre Cardin, the couturier. Work is to begin shortly and is due to be completed by 2000.

The original Pharos, built around 290BC at Alexandria harbour, collapsed in an earthquake in 1302. The new tower will be built some distance from the presumed site of the original to allow archaeological investigations to continue.

The Egyptian ambassador to France, Aly Maher el Sayed, said it would cement Franco-Egyptian friendship and symbolise "the triumph of light over obscurantism and the forces of darkness", presumably a reference to Islamic fundamentalists fighting the Government in Cairo.

In the day, the tower will be a vast mirror, reflecting the surrounding sea and city. At night, there will be 40 light shows, ranging from long- distance beams to luminous, multi-coloured symbols, representing the civilisations of Egypt, with hieroglyphics,Greek, Latin and Arab characters.