Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cleopatra's Needle, London

Cleopatra's Needle is the popular name for each of two Ancient Egyptian obelisks formerly in Alexandria and re-erected in London and New York City during the nineteenth century. -wikipedia

Cleopatra's Needle is one of the countless little odds and ends that can found in and around the city of London. Statues and monuments litter the city and it is easy walk past Cleopatra's Needle and think it is just one more bit of art in a city overflowing with art.

The needles are genuine Ancient Egyptian obelisks, though they are somewhat misnamed as they have no particular connection with Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt-they were already over a thousand years old in her lifetime.

The London needle is in the City of Westminster, on the Victoria Embankment near the Golden Jubilee Bridges. Cleopatra's Needle was presented to the United Kingdom in 1819 by Mehemet Ali, the Albanian-born viceroy of Egypt, in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile and Sir Ralph Abercromby at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. Although the British government welcomed the gesture, it declined to fund the expense of transporting it to London.

Cleopatra's Needle is one of those Free Things to do in London.

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