Sunday, May 19, 2013

The London and New York Obelisks

     The Egyptian obelisks now standing in London, on the banks of the Thames River, and in New York, in Central Park, were originally a pair erected in Heliopolis by Tuthmose III. They were moved to Alexandria by the Romans and set up in a temple that was originally built by Cleopatra VII.
     Both obelisks stand just short of 70 feet (21 meters) high and weigh about 224 tons. The London obelisk was presented to Egypt by Muhammed Ali in 1819, but it was not until 1877 that funds were found to transport it to London. The New York obelisk was brought to Central Park in 1881 and can be seen today from the roof top of the Metropolitan Museum.

     Time, and pollution, have not been kind to either obelisk. The inscriptions on both are rapidly being destroyed. Future generations may walk by them and not realize that they once bore inscriptions carved by two of the ancient world's most important kings, Tuthmose III, who originally made them, and Ramesses II, who added his name and titles many years later.


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