Most New Yorkers don’t realize it, but there is a 3,500 year old sculpture from Egypt in NYC. Situated right behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park, this ancient Egyptian obelisk has been standing there for over a century while people pass it by oblivious to its mysterious origin.
The obelisk, a symbol of the sun god Ra, is one of the two obelisks commissioned by Pharaoh Thutmose lll that stood in front of the Temple of the Sun in the city of Heliopolis in 1450 B.C. As a gesture of political alliance in the late 19th century, the government of Egypt offered one obelisk to Britain and one to the United States. Britain’s obelisk now stands in the Victoria Embankment in London, while USA kept theirs hidden in New York.[embedit snippet=”central-park-obelisk”]
Besides two curious pairs of bronze crab claws, the obelisk stands upon a number of sealed “time capsules” that contain items from the late 19th century, including the copy of the Declaration of Independence, military medals, the complete works of Shakespeare, a hydraulic pump, and mysteriously, a set of important symbols of the Freemasons.
The obelisk in Central Park is the last of the three obelisks erected in New York. The other two obelisks are in St. Paul’s churchyard in 25th Street. Strangely, if you draw a straight line connecting the Central Park obelisk and the one in St. Paul, it will pass directly through the Worth obelisk pointing 29 degrees east of north for reasons unknown.