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Cleopatra's Needle

Cleopatra's Needle (129)

Central Park is full of surprises. Among them, I advise you not to miss this Egyptian jewel of about 3,600 years ago.

This obelisk is covered with hieroglyphics and was commissioned by Pharaoh Thutmose III around 1450 BC. Initially it was built in Heliopolis, an ancient Egyptian city, but then the Romans placed it by the sea in the year 12 BC, namely in Alexandria, and later, in 1881, it crossed the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to get to New York.

This obelisk was one of two that Egypt wanted to give the industrialised western cities in the late 19th century. One was for London and the other one went to New York. The one in London can be found on the Victoria Embankment and this one in New York can be admired in Central Park, curiously enough, near the famous Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum.

It is sad to see how, in little more than 100 years, the deterioration it has suffered in New York has been actually greater than during the former centuries; as you can see, you will find it difficult to appreciate the relief of its hieroglyphics. Still, it is terribly rewarding to stroll through Central Park and be able to admire an Egyptian work dating from about 1,450 BC, and imagine everything that could have happened in these thousands of years.

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