Obelisks are man made monuments found across the globe. They are especially widespread today and virtually every developed country has erected an obelisk somewhere. General, they are associated with government, central authority and capital cities. Some places which have this feature are Caracas, Dublin, Buenos Aires, France, Indonesia, Myanmar, Brazil and Mexico City.
No civilisation has been more associated with obelisks than the Ancient Egyptians, although, Ancient Rome is possibly responsible for building the most. Some of the Pharaohs who have obelisks are Senusret I, Seti II, Ramses II, Tuthmosis III, Amenhotep II, Hatshepsut, Nectanebo II and Tuthmosis I. The Assyrians built obelisks as well and Peru is home to at least one ancient obelisk, the 'Tello Obelisk'. Axum, Ethiopia was home to many as was Byzantium. In modern times, Washington DC is home to the Washington Monument.
Where ever power and empire has gone, obelisks have seemed to follow. They have become a symbol of civilization, grandeur and strength. The organized manpower and architectural skill needed to creat such a monument is extraordinary. But I find it important to point out, while these monuments are impressive, they have largely been built by slave or near slave labor in brutal working conditions, for the sake of one person or a few elites.
Washington Monument, 2005. Photo: David Bjorgen
Obelisk of Pharaoh Senusret I, Al-MasallaMatariyyah district in Heliopolis, Cairo.