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The Heptastadion (Greek: Ὲπταστάδιον) was a giant causeway, often referred to as a mole[1] or a dyke built by the people of Alexandria, Egypt in the 3rd century BC during the Ptolemaic period.[2] It connected the mainland to Pharos Island where the Pharos lighthouse stood. The lighthouse was constructed on the orders of Ptolemy I and II. The Heptastadion is also believed to have served as an aqueduct while Pharos was inhabited.[3] It formed a barrier separating the Portus Magnus from the Portus Eunostus, but two channels with bridges above were let under the causeway to allow access between the two ports. Julius Caesar ordered these channels to be blocked during the Alexandrian War. Due to silting over the years,[1] the former dyke now forms the Mansheya isthmus.[4] Its name comes from its length: seven stadia (Hepta meaning seven).[3]


  1. ^ a b Pearson, Birger Albert (2004). Gnosticism and Christianity in Roman and Coptic Egypt. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 104. ISBN 0-567-02610-8. 
  2. ^ Khalid S. Al-Hagla. "Cultural Sustainability: An Asset of Cultural Tourism Industry" (PDF). International Cetre for Research on the Economics of Culture, Institutions, and Creativity (EBLA). 
  3. ^ a b Bertrand Millet; Goiran, Jean-Philippe (2007). "Impacts of Alexandria’s Heptastadion on Coastal Hydro-Sedimentary Dynamics During the Hellenistic Period". The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 36 (1): 167–176. doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2006.00131.x. 
  4. ^ "The Ptolemaic Legacy". Retrieved 2008-02-11.