Friday, November 13, 2009

Northern Lights

At the southernmost tip of Scotland, on the Mull of Galloway, lies this lighthouse. I visited it on a rainy November day, when probably it is at its best. It is very similar to Lands End down in Cornwall (without the exhibition, though!). All lighthouses are said to be modelled on the Alexandria lighthouse built on the Island of Pharos in 280 AD by the Greek architect, Sostratus. Famed for its technical excellence it was one of the Seven Wonders of the world. The king, Ptolemy, forbade Sostratus from inscribing his great work, but he went ahead and did it anyway. Ptolemy was not pleased and covered the inscription with his own words. But as time passed this fell off, to reveal the signature of the architect. Such was the durability of the lighthouse that Pharos became the origin for lighthouse in many languages - phare (French) farol (Portuguese) faros (Spanish), faro (Italian) and Catalan (far).