List of Egyptian obelisks

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Bonomi (1843)[1]
Lists of obelisks published during the 19th century

Obelisks had a prominent role in the architecture and religion of ancient Egypt.[3] This list contains all known remaining ancient Egyptian obelisks.[1][2] The list does not include modern or pre-modern pseudo-Egyptian obelisks, such as the numerous Egyptian-style obelisks commissioned by Roman Emperors. The list also excludes approximately 40 known obelisk fragments, catalogued by Hiroyuki Nagase and Shoji Okamoto.[4]


List of Egyptian obelisks is located in Earth
The location of the extant ancient Egyptian obelisks

Only about 30 such obelisks are still in existence worldwide; figures vary between sources with different definitions of extant Egyptian obelisks.[5] For example, David Allen states there are 29 such obelisks, with more in Italy than in Egypt.[5] Only two known obelisks date prior to the New Kingdom, both of which were dedicated to the Middle Kingdom Pharaoh Senusret I. At least 22 of the known obelisks date to the New Kingdom, four date to the Late Period and one to the Ptolemaic period.

The international transportation of Egyptian obelisks dates to the Roman conquest of Egypt following the death of Cleopatra, and in modern times to Egyptian gifts to other major cities such as the Luxor Obelisk at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, and the Cleopatra's Needles on the Victoria Embankment and in Central Park in London and New York respectively.[5] Only five obelisks still stand at the ruins of Ancient Egyptian temples.[4]

The largest known obelisk, the unfinished obelisk, was never erected and was discovered in its original quarry. It is nearly one-third larger than the largest ancient Egyptian obelisk ever erected (the Lateran Obelisk in Rome); if finished it would have measured around 41.75 metres (137.0 ft)[6] and would have weighed nearly 1,090 tonnes (1,200 short tons), a weight equal to about 200 African elephants.[7]

The most recent ancient obelisk to be re-erected is the 17-metre-tall Ramses II obelisk in Tahrir Square, the main city square of Cairo, having been reassembled from eight blocks discovered at Tanis in the late 19th century.[8] Dr Khaled El-Anany, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, said, "When we go to European capitals like Rome or Paris or London, and also Washington, we see that they use Egyptian obelisks in decorating their major tourist squares, so why do we not do the same?"[9]


Name Image Height (with base) Pharaoh Original location Current location Reference
Name Reign Place (since) City Sovereign state
Unfinished obelisk An obelisk 41.75 m Hatshepsut 1479 – 1458 BC Aswan (in situ) Stone Quarries, Aswan Aswan  Egypt [7]
Lateran Obelisk 100px 32.18 m (45.70 m with base) Thutmose III / Thutmose IV 1479 – 1425 BC / 1401 – 1391 BC Karnak Lateran Palace Rome  Italy [1]
Karnak obelisks of Hatshepsut 100px 29.56 m Hatshepsut 1479 – 1458 BC Karnak (in situ) Karnak Temple Luxor  Egypt [1]
(a.k.a. St Peter's Square obelisk or Caligula's obelisk)
An obelisk 25.5 m (41 m with base) Unknown Unknown Alexandria St. Peter's Square Rome   Vatican City [1]
Luxor obelisk 100px 25.03 m Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Luxor Temple (in situ) Luxor Temple Luxor  Egypt [1]
Flaminio Obelisk
(a.k.a. Popolo obelisk)
An obelisk 24 m (36.5 m with base) Seti I / Ramesses II 1294–1279 BC / 1279–1213 BC Heliopolis Piazza del Popolo Rome  Italy [1]
Luxor Obelisk An obelisk 22.83 m Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Luxor Temple Place de la Concorde (1833) Paris  France [1]
Obelisk of Montecitorio
(a.k.a. Solare obelisk)
An obelisk 21.79 m (33.97 m with base) Psammetichus II 595–589 BC Heliopolis Piazza di Montecitorio Rome  Italy [1]
Karnak obelisk of Thutmosis I 100px 21.20 m Thutmose I 1506–1493 BC Karnak (in situ) Karnak Luxor  Egypt [1]
Cleopatra's Needle
(a.k.a. London obelisk)
100px 21.00 m Thutmose III 1479 – 1425 BC Heliopolis (via Alexandria) Victoria Embankment (1878) London  United Kingdom [2]
Cleopatra's Needle
(a.k.a. New York obelisk)
100px 21.00 m Thutmose III 1479 – 1425 BC Heliopolis (via Alexandria) Central Park (1881) New York City  United States [1]
Al-Masalla obelisk
(a.k.a. Al Mataraiyyah obelisk)
An obelisk 20.40 m Senusret I 1971–1926 BC Heliopolis (in situ) Al-Masalla area of Al-Matariyyah district in Heliopolis Cairo  Egypt [1]
Obelisk of Theodosius
(a.k.a. Istanbul obelisk)
An obelisk 18.54 m (25.6 m with base) Thutmose III 1479 – 1425 BC Karnak Sultanahmet Square Istanbul  Turkey [1]
Tahrir obelisk 100px 17 m Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Tanis Tahrir Square (2020) Cairo  Egypt [10][8]
Cairo Airport obelisk 100px 16.97 m Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Tanis Cairo International Airport (1984) Cairo  Egypt [11]
Macuteo obelisk
(a.k.a. Pantheon or Rotonda obelisk)
An obelisk 14.52 m (26.34 m with base) Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Heliopolis Piazza della Rotonda Rome  Italy [1]
Gezira obelisk 100px 13.5 m (20.4 m with base) Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Tanis Gezira Island, Cairo Cairo  Egypt [12]
Faiyum obelisk
(a.k.a. Crocodilopolis obelisk)
100px 12.70 m Senusret I 1971–1926 BC Faiyum (local area, found fallen) Abgig Faiyum  Egypt [13]
Philae obelisk An obelisk 6.70 m Ptolemy IX 116–107 BC Philae (Temple of Isis) Kingston Lacy (1815) Dorset  United Kingdom [1]
Boboli Obelisk 100px 6.34 m Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Heliopolis (via Rome) Boboli Gardens (1790) Florence  Italy [2]
Elephant and Obelisk
(a.k.a. Minerveo obelisk)
100px 5.47 m (12.69 m with base) Apries 589–570 BC Sais Piazza della Minerva (Roman period, rediscovered 1665) Rome  Italy [1]
Abu Simbel obelisks 100px 3.13 m Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Abu Simbel (Great Temple) Nubian Museum Aswan  Egypt [14]
Urbino obelisk
(a.k.a. Albani obelisk)
100px 3.00 m Apries 589–570 BC Sais (via Rome) Ducal Palace Urbino  Italy [2]
Poznań obelisk 100px 3.00 m Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Athribis (via Berlin, 1895) Poznań Archaeological Museum (2002) Poznań  Poland [15][16][17]
Matteiano obelisk
(a.k.a. Celimontana obelisk)
An obelisk 2.68 m (12.23 m with base) Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Heliopolis Villa Celimontana Rome  Italy [1]
Durham obelisk
(a.k.a. Alnwick or Algernon obelisk)
100px 2.15 m Amenhotep II 1427–1401 BC unknown (within the Thebaid) Oriental Museum, University of Durham (1838) Durham  United Kingdom [1][18]
Dogali obelisk
(a.k.a. Casanatese obelisk)
An obelisk 2 m (6.34 m with base) Ramesses II 1279–1213 BC Heliopolis Baths of Diocletian Rome  Italy [19][20]
Abishemu obelisk 100px 1.25 m (1.45 m with base) Abishemu (King of Byblos) 1800s BC Temple of the Obelisks Beirut National Museum Beirut  Lebanon [21]
Karnak obelisk of Seti II 100px 0.95 m Seti II 1203–1197 BC Karnak (in situ) Karnak Luxor  Egypt [22]
Luxor obelisk 100px 0.95 m (original est. 3 m) Ramesses III 1186–1155 BC Karnak Luxor Museum (1923) Luxor  Egypt [23]
Obelisks of Nectanebo II An obelisk 0.95 m (original est. 5.5 m) Nectanebo II 360–342 BC Hermopolis British Museum London  United Kingdom [1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 Joseph Bonomi the Younger (1843). Notes of Obelisks. pp. 40 v – via Hathi Trust.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Gorringe, Henry Honychurch (1885). Egyptian Obelisks. Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO): Photography: The World through the Lens. John C. Nimmo – via Google Books.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Mark, Joshua J. (November 6, 2016). "Egyptian Obelisk". World History Encyclopedia. World History Publishing.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hiroyuki Nagase and Shoji Okamoto, 2017, Obelisks of the World: "Although about 30 ancient obelisks are currently well maintained and stand at the public places (plaza, square, park, etc.), but only 5 remain at the ruins of Ancient Temple in Egypt. And two more obelisks stand at the public space in Egypt. So 7 obelisks in total in Egypt."
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Allen, D. (2013). How Mechanics Shaped the Modern World. Springer International Publishing. ISBN 978-3-319-01701-3. Retrieved 2022-01-23. By the way, there are 29 extant Egyptian obelisks in the world today. Nine are in Egypt, and eleven in Italy (eight of which are in Rome, having been pilfered by the Romans after Augustus defeated Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BCE, thereby conquering Egypt). Others are scattered across the world.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Reginald Engelbach, 1922, The Aswân Obelisk, with some remarks on ancient engineering
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bard, Kathryn (1999). Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Routledge. p. 587. ISBN 978-0-415-18589-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 Nevine El-Aref, Sep 2019, An obelisk in Tahrir "After centuries of being scattered in eight large blocks on the sands at San Al-Haggar archaeological site in Zagazig, a 17 m-tall obelisk of King Ramses II will be restored, re-assembled and re-erected to decorate the historic Tahrir Square"
  9. Machemer, Theresa (May 11, 2020). "Egypt Defies Archaeologists' Protests by Relocating Four Ancient Sphinxes". Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian Institution.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Mira Maged, Feb 2020, Ramses II obelisk to be fully reassembled in Cairo's Tahrir Square "...with Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities having transported eight blocks of the statue unearthed in August 2019 at Zagazig, a city in Lower Egypt"
  11. Flinders Petrie, Tanis, I, plate VIII (48, North Obelisk)
  12. Flinders Petrie, Tanis, I, plate IX (51, North Obelisk)
  13. 1809: Description de l'Égypte, IV, plate 71, Text II, ch. XVII, 43-45
  14. Charles Kuentz (1932) Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire N°1308-1315 et 17001-17036 Obélisques, 45-50, plate XIII (Cairo Museum JE 42955 C, CG 17023 & 17024)
  15. Obelisk of Ramesses II in the Museum's courtyard
  16. Königliche Museen Berlin, Ägyptische und Vorderasiatische Altertümer II (1897), pl.116
  17. Ausführliches Verzeichnis der Ägyptischen Altertümer (1899), pp.124-125, fig.26.
  18. Cooper & Chabas 1877.
  19. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions, II, 483, §183 C
  20. Orazio Marucchi, 1898, Gli obelischi egiziani di Roma, page 96
  21. Maurice Dunand, Fouilles de Byblos, volume 2, p. 878, no. 16980; and plate XXXII number 2
  22. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions, IV, 250:12-16
  23. Maurice Pillet, Rapport sur les travaux de Karnak. X, "Un petit obélisque de Ramsès III." Annales Du Service Des Antiquités de L'Egypte 24 (1924): 82-3


External links