Category:Vatican obelisk

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English: At the center of the ellipse stands an Egyptian obelisk of red granite, 25.5 meters tall, supported on bronze lions and surmounted by the Chigi arms in bronze, in all 41 meters to the cross on its top. It was originally erected at Heliopolis by an unknown pharaoh of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt (13th century BC). The Emperor Augustus had it moved to the Julian Forum of Alexandria, where it stood until year 37 A.D., when Caligula ordered the forum demolished and the obelisk transferred to Rome. He placed it in the central spina of the Circus Neronis (which lay to the left of the present basilica), where it would preside over Nero's countless brutal games and Christian executions. It was moved to its current site in 1586 by the engineer-architect Domenico Fontana under the direction of Pope Sixtus V; the engineering feat of re-erecting its vast weight was memorialized in a suite of engravings. The Vatican Obelisk is the only obelisk in Rome that did not topple since Roman times. During the Middle Ages, the gilt ball on top of the obelisk was believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar. Though Bernini had no influence in the erection of the obelisk, he did use it as the centerpiece of his magnificent piazza.

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Media in category "Vatican obelisk"

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