In New York City's Central Park stands a 21-metre-tall red granite obelisk carved during the 18th Dynasty to commemorate King Tuthmose III, grandfather of King Tutankhamun. This obelisk is one of a pair originally erected in Heliopolis, then floated to Alexandria, where they fronted a temple dedicated to the deified Julius Caesar.
During the 19th century, the Khedive of Egypt, who governed as a viceroy of the Sultan of Turkey between 1879 and 1914, donated both obelisks to Western industrialised nations in exchange for foreign aid to modernise Egypt. The London obelisk was raised in 1879, and the other erected in Central Park in 1881. Since then it has been known as “Cleopatra Needle”.
During his last visit to New York, Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said that the obelisk has been severely weathered over the past century and was not properly conserved and that no efforts have been made to conserve it. This led Hawass to write a letter to the president of the Central Park Conservancy and the mayor of New York City asking for their assistance in caring for the distinguished artefact. At the end of the letter Hawass warned that if the obelisk couldn't be cared for he would take the necessary steps to bring it home.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
More re Hawass on the NY obelisk.