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Cleopatra's Needle (London)

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Cleopatra's Needles are a trio of obelisks in London, Paris, and New York City. Each is made of red granite, stands about 21 metres (68 feet) high, weighs about 180 tons and is inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs. Although the needles are genuine Ancient Egyptian obelisks, they are somewhat misnamed as none has any connection with queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt. They were originally erected in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis on the orders of Thutmose III, around 1450 BC. The material of which they were cut is granite, brought from Aswan, near the first cataract of the Nile. The inscriptions were added about 200 years later by Ramses II to commemorate his military victories. The obelisks were moved to Alexandria and set up in the Caesarium — a temple built by Cleopatra in honor of Mark Antony — by the Romans in 12 BC, during the reign of Augustus Caesar, but were toppled some time later. This had the fortuitous effect of burying their faces and so preserving most of the hieroglyphs from the effects of weathering.

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