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Obelisk

Obelisk
Cleopatra's Needle by MKR

Though often referred to by its nickname, Cleopatra's Needle, this ancient artifact was in fact commissioned by Pharaoh Thutmosis III around 1450 BC in celebration of his 3rd jubilee (or the 30th year of his reign). Two of these obelisks were constructed, and, around 13 or 12BC, they were transported from Heliopolis to Alexandria. The pair was separated in the late 19th century; one was sent to London and another to New York City, both by the Khedive of Egypt in exchange for aid in modernizing his country.

The Obelisk's move to New York City was nothing short of arduous. Once in the City, it took laborers four months to simply move it from the Hudson River to Central Park where it now stands, located behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Obelisk is known as the oldest man-made construction in Central Park. Its shaft is 71 feet high and weighs about 200 tons. Each corner of the Obelisk's base is supported by huge, 900 pound bronze replicas of sea crabs originally created by the Romans while it was in Alexandria. Each year visitors come to marvel at this piece of history, officially designated a scenic landmark in 1974 by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

— Jesse M. Wheeler

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Top of Page Header Photo: © Aric Boyles 2014
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