New York City & Egypt Tussle over Cleopatra’s Needle

Most visitors of Central Park do not realize that they have a piece of Ancient History in the midst. In the 19th century, Egypt made a gift of Cleopatra’s Needle, one of three identical obelisks, to the Cities of New York, Paris, and London. The obelisks themselves are not related to the famed Queen, but rather were inscribed during the reign of Thutmose III.

Recently, Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt’s Council of Antiquities (and a controversial figure in his own right) condemned the city of New York for ill-keeping of the artifact – arguing that the heavy pollution and acid rain of the city has eroded the inscriptions and even suggesting that Egypt should confiscate the monument. New York has responded by pointing out the instability of Egypt and recent lootings of its museums and monuments as well as denying the accusation that New York City’s pollution is having any negative effect on the monument.

To learn more about this debate, you can read the article in the New York Times.

5 thoughts on “New York City & Egypt Tussle over Cleopatra’s Needle

  1. Jim Wheeler

    Doctor Hawass has made a lucrative career from promoting (and milking) the many mysteries and delights of Egyptian culture. I first encountered him on late-night radio when Art Bell, of UFO’s and other kookiness fame, interviewed him on whether the pyramids might just be alien artifacts and perhaps UFO navigation aids. Looks like he’s still going strong. 😆 🙄

    1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

      I absolutely loath the man. He is clearly self-promoting and opportunistic. He is also misogynistic and pretty dishonest. I find him despicable in so many ways.

  2. Charles Mount

    I missed this story, is he also calling for the return of the obelisks shipped to Rome by the Roman Emperors like Caligula? And what about the examples in London and Paris?


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