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Square of Horses obelisk Istanbul
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Location: Square of Horses, Istanbul, Turkey
Pharaoh: Tuthmosis III (reigned 1504-1450 B.C.)
Height: 65 feet (originally 95 feet)
Weight: (originally 380 tons)
Story: Now standing in the Square of Horses in Istanbul, this obelisk once graced the Great Temple of Karnak in ancient Thebes. It was one of two erected near the Seventh Pylon by Tuthmosis III, whose inscriptions glorify his military exploits, including a crossing of the river Euphrates in Syria: "Crossing the Great Circle of Naharina in valor and victory at the head of his army, making great slaughter...Lord of Victory who subdues all lands, establishing his frontier at the Beginning of the Earth [the extreme south] up to the Swampy Lands of Naharina [the farthest north]...."

No one knows who ordered its removal from Karnak, or whether it was still standing when it was taken. Now about 65 feet tall, its lower half reputedly also once stood in Istanbul but is now lost. Unlike the obelisks in Rome, it appears to have stood unmoved in the former Hippodrome of Constantinople since its erection by an unidentified Roman emperor.

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Photo: (1) Corbis/Adam Woolfitt.



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