Cleopatra's Needle, New York

Cleopatra's Needle, New York

The oldest man-made object in Central Park, and the oldest outdoor monument in New York City, this Egyptian monument is lumped collectively with three others in the world, each known as Cleopatra's Needle (one in Paris, the other in London), but it's the obelisk in London that is its true twin, both being constructed at the same time and sourced from the same quarry for red granite. At 68 ft and 224 tons, both obelisks were first erected in the ancient city of Heliopolis around 1450BC, only to be later moved to Alexandria and then gifted in the late 19th century to New York and London, respectively.

After the monolithic offering's arrival in New York, 32 horses were hitched in twos and it was hauled from the Hudson River, carried across a custom-built bridge, erected right across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and manipulated into the exact direction it faced while in Alexandria.

Each corner of the Obelisk's base is supported by huge, 900lb bronze replicas of sea crabs added by the Romans around 13BC while it was still in Egypt, so the crustaceans are ancient themselves (originals are nearby on display, in the Sackler Wing of the Met), and together with the carved symbols on all four sides make a wonderful photographic – and conversation – opportunity.

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Cleopatra's Needle on Map

Sight Name: Cleopatra's Needle
Sight Location: New York, USA (See walking tours in New York)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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