Cleopatra's Needles

Cleopatra's Needles, name in popular use for two obelisks of red granite from Egypt. Originally erected at Heliopolis (c.1475 B.C.) by Thutmose III, they were transported to Alexandria (c.14 B.C.) under Augustus and in the 19th cent. were sent separately as gifts of Ismail Pasha to England (1878) and the United States (1880). The British obelisk, 68.5 ft (20.9 m) high, stands on the Thames embankment in London. The American one, 69.5 ft (21.2 m) high, is in Central Park in New York City.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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