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Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan

This post is part of the collection from Classic Egypt – a trip up the Nile

Commissioned by Queen Hatshepsut, the Unfinished Obelisk would have been the biggest obelisk in the world – if it had been completed.

Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan

As fate would have it, the granitic structure cracked while it was being craved out of the bed rock. Further attempts to extract the obelisk, by carving out a smaller version, only led to more cracks in the stone column. As a result, the obelisk was abandoned and never completed.

As a historic site, it offered a wealth of clues to archeologists. Through the marks left on the stone, the Unfinished Obelisk showed future generations how these giant columns were once constructed by Ancient Egyptians – a slow process using a mix of wood, water and chisels.

Granite quarry, Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan

For the tourist, with the help of a good guide, it can be an interesting stop. But it’s worth noting that beyond the Unfinished Obelisk, the site is essentially an abandoned quarry. And as an open air museum, it’s also entirely unsheltered making it a furnace in the baking heat of the Egyptian sun.

Close up of rose granite, Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan

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