Obelisk, Rome

Obelisk, Rome

Everyone always associates obelisks with Egypt, but today there are more of these slender monuments in Rome than anywhere else in the world, with eight ancient Egyptian ones and five ancient Roman ones. These monuments were raised usually as a single block in front of pyramids or Egyptian temples and they symbolized the sun god Ra. Ancient Romans often dedicated their to their current ruling emperor; these weren’t adorned with hieroglyphics.

The obelisk that stands in St Peter’s Square was brought from Egypt to Rome by the Emperor Caligula in 37AD and he had it set up in the center of his circus (later known as the Circus of Nero). Transporting obelisks was a difficult process and huge boats – “obelisk boats” – were specially constructed to carry them.

When Sixtus V became pope, he was determined to move the obelisk to the center of what was to become St Peter’s Square. The move was orchestrated by the architect and engineer Domenico Fontana, Giacomo della Porta’s assistant during the construction of the basilica. It took three weeks to move the monument on rollers and forty-seven cranes, 140 carthorses and over 1000 men to set it up in its new home. At one time a bronze globe, believed to contain the ashes of Julius Cesar, topped the obelisk, but Pope Sixtus V replaced it with his symbol of three mountains topped by a star.
Sight description based on wikipedia

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Rome, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Obelisk on Map

Sight Name: Obelisk
Sight Location: Rome, Italy
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: Vatican Walking Tour  

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 BC by twin brothers Romulus and Remus who were raised by a she-wolf. However, the pair argued about who had the support of the gods, and Romulus ended up killing Remus in a fight on what became Palatine Hill. Thus, Romulus named the city after himself and declared himself as king.

In a slightly less glorious account, Rome actually began as an Iron Age...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Holy Sites Walking Tour

Holy Sites Walking Tour

Being the cradle of the Catholic Church, one of the world's biggest religions, Rome has a large number of valuable, sacred places of worship. Crowded with architectural splendors from different periods of time, each church and basilica represents a significant part of Rome's culture and history. Take the following tour to discover Rome's magnificent religious heritage.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 km
Pincian Hill Area Walk

Pincian Hill Area Walk

Pincian Hill, overlooking the Campus Martius, lies outside the original boundaries of the ancient city of Rome. It was not one of the Seven hills of Rome, but it' is located within Aurelian wall. The Hill is home to the Pincio Gardens, an impressive park with terraces offering great views of Rome. Take this tour to explore the Pincian Hill and visit such famous sites as the Galleria Borghese,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 km
"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" (1953) is a movie, filmed entirely in Rome and beloved by generations of people. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, the film won three Oscars, giving Hepburn a boost to her glorious film career. The main storyline centers around a day of freedom in the beautiful Italian capital for an otherwise duty-bound Princess Ann. Take the following tour to live the happiest...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.9 km
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Take this tour to explore Trastevere, the 13th rione (district) of Rome, located on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin "trans Tiberim", literally "beyond the Tiber". Although the rione was established during the times of ancient Rome, it grew and formed as a true part of the city in the Middle Ages, as a result it is characterized...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Monti and Celio Walking Tour

Monti and Celio Walking Tour

To stay close to the action in Rome but be able to mingle more with the locals, look no further than the districts of Monti and Celio. Although Monti – the city's oldest district – doesn't boast grand monuments, it more than makes up for that with its lively, friendly atmosphere. Sitting on the fountain steps at Piazza Madonna ai Monti and watching the world go by is as rewarding as...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 km

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