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Monday, September 7, 1998 Published at 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK

World: Middle East

Ancient wonder sees light of day

Ruins found off Alexandria's harbour

One of the seven wonders of the ancient world, Alexandria's lighthouse, is coming back to life.

A French company says it has been given the go-ahead by the Egyptian authorities to build a modern version of the famous lighthouse

A foundation backed by the fashion designer Pierre Cardin and supported by Unesco is proposing a glass-covered concrete tower standing 145 metres high and costing $70m.

It is intended to reflect sunshine during the day and beam light 60 kms (37 miles) at night.

"It will herald the third millenium as Paris' Eiffel tower marked the beginning of the 20th century," said the Fondation Internationale Pierre Cardin.

Resurrecting the past

The modern lighthouse will be built on the same site as its ancient predecessor.

The ancient Pharos lighthouse was reputedly equipped with a giant mirror to reflect light and guide ships.

It was built in 281 BC and stood for 16 centuries before collapsing in an earthquake in 1349.

Underwater archaeologists discovered ruins of the famous lighthouse two years ago off Alexandria's port.

The project is to be announced officially on Thursday.

To help finance it, the public will be invited to buy $30 shares in the Alexandria 21st Century Project.

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