Obelisk of Thutmose lll – Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul 2012 Centrally located in Sultanahmet Meydanı (Sultanahmet Square), the Obelisk of Thutmose III attracts a number of spectators every day.

As stated on the plaque below the structure, the Obelisk was first erected by the Pharaoh (Thutmose III) in Upper Egypt.  It was Emperor Thedosius who brought it to Istanbul from Alexandria in the late 4th century and erected it in it’s present location.

Made of  red granite from Aswan, the obelisk was originally 30m tall.  The lower part was damaged, probably during its transport or re-erection, and so the monument is only 25.6m high today (if the base is included).  Between the obelisk and the pedestal one may notice bronze cubes – these were used in the transportation and re-erection of the structure.

Each of its faces has a single central column of inscription, commemorating Tutmoses III’s victory on the banks of the Euphrates river in 1450 BC.

Istanbul 2012

The marble pedestal on which the obelisk sits retains bas-reliefs dating to the time of the monument’s re-erection in Constantinople. Theodosius I is shown on one side offering the crown of victory to the winner of the chariot races – framed between arches and columns, with happy spectators, musicians and dancers all taking part in the ceremony.

Today crowds of tourists and tour groups surround the obelisk on a daily basis, awe stricken by the even thought of the daunting task of moving and re-erecting this great statue from Egypt to it’s current location – a common event during the Roman Empire.



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