This monument travelled from Alexandria to the United Kingdom with a tragic and forced stop in Galicia. You'll like to see it from the shores of the Thames.

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Cleopatra's Needle

The hazardous life of an obelisk.

Here you have one of the secrets of London's streets. As it is almost hidden between the trees by the river Thames, near the station and the embankment, this Egyptian obelisk usually goes unnoticed. It is a tribute to Pharaoh Thutmose III of the 15th century B.C. situated in Cleopatra's palace in Alexandria. Since then, and up to its move to the British city, it went through a real odyssey. Egypt presented it to Queen Victoria as a gift in 1819 for her assistance in the battles of the Nile and Alexandria. The queen refused to fund the enormous and exaggerated amount that it would cost to move the piece. Twenty years later, a philanthropist named Sir Erasmus Wilson, offered to finance the venture. Following a difficult boat journey, in which the obelisk was almost left sunken in the Cantabrian Sea due to storms that cost the lives of six men, and a stop in Galicia for a repair, it arrived to its destination. Its current location was chosen due to how complex it would have been to take it through London's narrow streets and as far as the British Museum. If you are walking along the shores of the river, stop and observe the obelisk; you'll notice that the concrete base and its two bronze sphinxes that watch the needle, are marked by shrapnel from the Second World War bombing.

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