Cleopatra’s Needle, Central Park, NY
UBS donated free-standing access to the 1450 B.C. obelisk Cleopatra’s Needle in honor of Shafik Gabr’s “East-West The Art of Dialogue Initiative” to assist in the assessment, restoration and cleaning of Egypt’s gift to New York City.
The oldest man-made object in Central Park is this Obelisk, located directly behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nicknamed Cleopatra’s Needle soon after its installation, the stone shaft has nothing to do with the legendary Queen of the Nile. Thutmosis III, an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled from 1479-1425 B.C., had a pair of obelisks made to celebrate his third jubilee (30th year of reign). This is one of them, and the other stands on the bank of the Thames River in London. Made from the quarries at Aswan, the two pink granite monoliths once stood on either side of the portals to the Temple of the Sun in the sacred city of Heliopolis on the Nile River. The shafts themselves are sixty-nine feet high from base to tip, and weigh somewhere between 193 and 200 tons. The base and steps, which were added in Alexandria, are 27 feet high and weigh over 50 tons.