In the cities of London, Paris, and New York stand three remnants of a civilization that continue to instil amazement and wonder, a feeling of awe and mystery. Named ‘Cleopatra’s Needle’, these three ancient obelisks, weighing 220 tons each, were transported across oceans and re-erected at each site, a testament to the will of man.
As history goes, obelisks are said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk – an important icon to the ancient Egyptians. The ones in London and New York are actually a pair, with both made of red granite and standing at around 69ft high, inscribed with hieroglyphs. Originally, the pair stood in the city of Heliopolis, erected under the orders of Thutmose III around 1450 BC – making them over 3000 years old!
The London Needle is located in Westminster, on the Victoria Embankment near the Golden Jubilee Bridges, and in close proximity to the Embankment underground station. Presented to the United Kingdom in 1819 by the ruler of Egypt in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson and Sir Ralph Abercromby, the monument is steeped in history both ancient and new. Whilst accepting the gift, the British government refused to fund transport expenses until Sir William James Erasmus Wilson took upon the task and finally brought it to its new home in 1878.
Interestingly, the Needle is flanked by two sphinxes cast from bronze that face the obelisk rather than guard it. Another story surrounding the Needle can still be seen in person, as during World War I a bomb from a German air raid landed near it. To this day, the damage has not been repaired in commemoration of the event, and visitors can still see shrapnel holes and gouges on the right hand sphinx.
If you are in the area and need a flat for rent in London, you need look no further. The Jamaica Street Townhouse is located in Stepney Green, London, and is only 15 to 20 minutes away from the Needle, while also being easily accessible by bus. Featuring all the facilities you need for the perfect urban exploration adventure, including a modern fitted kitchen that ensures the best self-catering accommodation in London, two en-suite showers, central heating, TV, CD and DVD player along with unlimited WiFi, the Jamaica Street Townhouse is your prime choice for holiday lets in London.