By: Zahi Hawass
The Pharaonic obelisks were skyscrapers in ancient Egypt. Their importance, beauty and glory, as well as its artistic are still maintained, in addition to their historical value through the hieroglyphic texts that the pharaohs recorded on them such as titles and events.
The Ancient Egyptian civilization was unique in erecting obelisks, which prove the greatness and cleverness of the Egyptian architect since thousands of years. The obelisks were prominently placed in pairs at the entrance of temples by the ancient Egyptians.
“Senusret I Obelisk” in Heliopolis is the oldest obelisk among all the standing obelisks worldwide. This 20.7 m high obelisk was erected by Senusret king.
Although this has been standing almost 4000 years in this place, but due to the rise of groundwater level, the pedestal and the bottom of obelisk became immersed in water. However, the construction of raising the obelisk was done in the 1970s. The obelisk height is now 20.4 meters, and its weight about 121 tons.
The word obelisk as used today is of Greek origin, while the Egyptians called them Tekhenu. Some ancient Egyptian obelisks are known to have survived, but are scattered throughout the world, only a few remain in Egypt.
Noteworthy, when Romans ruled Egypt, the Roman emperors admired the Egyptian obelisks and transported them to their fields to Rome; there are 13 huge obelisks, one of which is height in San Giovanni square in Rome, it’s weighs about 455 tons and dating back King Thutmose III reign.
In addition, the world is decorated with Egyptian obelisks as ambassadors for the greatness of the Egyptian civilization in France, England, America, Turkey and other countries.