Unfinished Obelisk Egypt

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt

Discover the Facts of The Largest Known Obelisk in Aswan

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt is where you feel that you are in an engineering site with the ancient Egyptians and come back with the time to 1478 to 1458 BC within the reign of Hatshepsut to build an obelisk that had to be a third larger in length than all other obelisks in Egypt with 42m in length and with four sides converging to inform a mini pyramidal shape at the top.

Once you arrive at the northern part of the granite quarry in Aswan, which is located near the eastern shore of the Nile, it is about 1 km east of the Nile; you will find this magnificent obelisk that had been carved on the ground by the ancient Egyptians hands from thousands of years ago, as they were still completing the building of this obelisk.

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt
by upyernoz

At this point, you will get to know a great secret of one of the pharaohs’ miracles: the great obelisks that the Ancient Egyptians were fond of building during the 5th Dynasty. Obelisks began to play an important role inside the temples that were erected to worship Ra, the sun god. So, it was placed in the open court on a great base, and when the sunrise had fallen on the pyramidal top of the Obelisk, the bright light covered the temple, which gave the ancient Egyptians proof of the sun’s mighty power. But how they had built this great one-piece of rock, and how they had transferred!

The Unfinished Obelisk Egypt is a Gift

The ancient Egyptians had left unintentionally to reveal all the mysteries of these high stone pillars that have touched the sky for thousands of years and derive their strength from the sun to illuminate wide spaces.

The ancient Egyptians who were with the bodies of normal size, not giants- carved granite directly on the surface of the stone at the ground, on all four sides, after specifying the shape of the obelisk on the rock surface, then removing the uppermost layer of granite to clear the stone of any inconsistencies brought upon it by the environment by making a large fire on the surface on the stone, and when the fire was at its warmest, they had to pour water on the surface. The sudden shift in temperature would make the uppermost layer of granite crack into smaller pieces. Then they cleared all these remains.

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt

The largest known ancient obelisk – Unfinished Obelisk Egypt would have been 32m. high
by Jorge Lascar

The Granite Obelisk Construction

When quarrying softer rock in Ancient Egypt, such as limestone or sandstone. They used copper chisels which were struck with wooden mallets. But this method could not be useful with this tough material of granite. Especially, this high-quality pink and grey granite. So, they used balls of a harder stone than granite called dolerite which can be found in desert valleys between the Nile and the Red sea. You can see the remains of this stone in the unfinished obelisk Egypt site.

Once the sides were cut down into the rock, the obelisk had to be separated from the bedrock. A series of cuts through the base were made. Again the dolerite to make chiseled holes into the rock to a depth of about six inches. Then, wooden wedges into these holes to water this wood that, so that the wood swelled and caused the rock to split.

After arriving at this point, they would have transported the obelisk by the river. But how did they carry it until arriving at the site of the temple? They had curved the obelisk with a particular inclination angle, so this obelisk could be slipped out to place on a heavy sled. It took several thousand workmen to pull the sled to the banks of the Nile.

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt

Site of the Unfinished Obelisk Egypt
by Jorge Lascar

How the Obelisk Was Moved?

There, vessels were waiting in dry docks specially designed to allow safe loading of the pillars. During this loading process, the boats had to remain in dry dock until the pillars were safely on board. Then the vessel and the sacred cargo were slowly floated on the water.

A ramp was prepared, and the pillar was pulled to the incline. The unique part of the ramp was a funnel-shaped hole filled with sand. The obelisk was positioned over the hole, and the sand was emptied, thus lowering the pillar into place. When the obelisk had been placed on its base and fastened there, the ramp was removed, and the priests and royal household arrived to take part in dedication rituals and in ceremonies.

The time to raise this high obelisk came; its base was beneath the ramp and covered with sand. The bottom of the obelisk would be placed over this hole, and sand removed slowly to raise the pillar while workmen with ropes carefully guided the obelisk as it rose. All these scenes you can easily imagine in the unfinished obelisk in Aswan quarry. How!

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt
by Son of Groucho

The Great Ancient Egyptian Hard Workers!

On the surface of the obelisk rocks, you can see the scratches that had been cut by the hands of the ancient Egyptians and their instruments. Also, there are ochre-colored lines that had been drawn in the 18th Dynasty to mark the places where the workers were supposed to carve out the granite. The wood tunnels were carved to separate this rock pillar that you can see placed on the ground to begin the process of its transmission.

So, you will feel that any time ancient Egyptians will appear from far to come and complete the process, but a thing will catch your eyes, to realize why the ancient Egyptians stopped to finish building this Unfinished obelisk Egypt!

It is numerous cracks within the granite. When the ancient Egyptians found these cracks, they believed that they had to be stopped working on this project. But it is still one of the most sights in Egypt that reflects great history.

Points You Need To Know When Visiting the Unfinished Obelisk Egypt 

The obelisk is approximately 42m high, and it weighs about 1168 tons upon completion. Therefore, it would have been one of the heaviest obelisks that ever cut in Ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians used to build their obelisks with granite. They used small balls of a mineral that is harder than granite, which is known as dolerite, to cut through these hard rocks, the same as what happened for this Unfished Obelisk Egypt.

Unfinished Obelisk

Unfinished Obelisk Egypt
by upyernoz

It is believed that work began on this  Obelisk during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut. For installing it in the Karnak Temple in Luxor. And after the ancient Egyptian workers dug the obelisk on three sides, in preparation for removing it from the pier and completing its preparation. They discovered a crack in it that would make it unsuitable. So, the workers stopped completing it.

Some signs appear on the obelisk that reflect the attempts to save it. These attempts may have been during the reign of Thutmose III. All the history of this huge obelisk will be visible in front of you, the same as you live with the ancient Egyptians. Hold their hands by touching the effects that their hands left when attempting to build this great obelisk.


Excavations have discovered a lot of statues and other unfinished obelisks in the location of the huge unfinished Obelisk Egypt. Also, there were two obelisks in front of the Luxor Temple. One of them has been moved to the Place de la Concorde in Paris, as well as the obelisks in the Karnak Temple.

There is even an obelisk dating back to the reign of King Senusret I in Al-Matareya in Cairo. It is considered the oldest obelisk in Egypt. It was built in 1942 BC, at the entrance to the temple of the god Ra in Heliopolis, for this king, who ruled Egypt in the 12th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom, to announce the thirtieth year of his reign. This obelisk is 20.75 meters high and weighs 121 tons of red granite.


Related FAQ

What is the Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan?

The Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan is a large abandoned obelisk. It was left unfinished in ancient times due to a crack that formed in the stone during its construction.

Why was the Unfinished Obelisk never completed?

The Unfinished Obelisk was never completed because a large crack formed in the stone during its construction, making it unsuitable for use as an obelisk.

How big is the Unfinished Obelisk?

The Unfinished Obelisk is approximately 42 meters long and would have weighed around 1,168 tons if it had been completed.

When was the Unfinished Obelisk discovered?

The Unfinished Obelisk was discovered in Aswan in 1903 by archaeologist Gaston Maspero

What was the purpose of the Unfinished Obelisk?

The Unfinished Obelisk was intended to be a monumental stone pillar, often erected by ancient Egyptians as a symbol of power and authority.

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