Cleopatra’s Needle
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Thames Embankment (1450 BC)
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Standing sixty-eight feet high and weighing 180 tons, this ancient religious monument was made in Egypt in 1450 BC for Pharaoh Thutmose III. Later inscriptions were added to honour Rameses II.

It was one of two moved from Heliopolis to Alexandria by the Romans in 12 BC. After the decline of the Roman Empire, it lay half-buried under the sand at the foot of its twin (now in New York City).

The needle has no direct link with Cleopatra, but the specially designed container ship built to bring her to England was called ‘Cleopatra’.

It was given to the British in 1819 as a gift for Nelson’s victory over Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile (1798).

It was erected by the River Thames in 1878 and is guarded by two large Victorian bronze Sphinx. Bomb damage during a German air raid in 1917 can be still seen on the base of one of the Sphinx.
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