Where a Light­house Beck­ons

SLOW Magazine - - Editor's Choice -

Ge­orge Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), the Ir­ish play­wright who wrote more than 60 plays, once said, “I can think of no other ed­i­fice con­structed by man as al­tru­is­tic as a light­house. They were built only to serve.”

In the age be­fore light­houses were built, early sailors used bon­fire bea­cons on cliffs and hill­sides to act as warn­ing sig­nals.

The first light­house was built in Alexan­dria, Egypt, and was one of the Seven Wonders of the An­cient World. It was built between 280 and 247 BC and for many cen­turies it was one of the tallest man-made struc­tures in the world. It sur­vived, in part, un­til 1480.

Al­though the num­ber of op­er­a­tional light­houses has de­clined due to the use of elec­tronic nav­i­ga­tion, nowa­days the old Ja­panese proverb, ‘Dark­ness reigns at the foot of a light­house’, is any­thing but true. Many light­houses around South Africa are tourist at­trac­tions for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, in­clud­ing the panoramic views they of­fer, the in­ter­est­ing his­tory of the struc­tures, or their use as re­fur­bished ac­com­mo­da­tion. Cape Agul­has Light­house, the South­ern­most Tip of Africa

The de­sign of the Cape Agul­has Light­house was in­spired by the Pharaohs of Alexan­dria. As with the Pharaohs, large blocks of light-coloured stone were used in its con­struc­tion. It also has a tower made up

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