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“Very Cool” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cleopatra's Needle

Cleopatra's Needle
Thames Embankment, London, England (Trafalgar Square / Embankment)
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Ranked #724 of 2,331 things to do in London
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Lexington, Kentucky
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Very Cool”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2012

More than anything about this monument is the sheer size and location of this monolith!

Visited December 2011
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Manchester, United Kingdom
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119 reviews 119 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
286 helpful votes 286 helpful votes
“Great monument, poor location”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2012

This is one of London's great landmarks, not in the same league as St. Pauls or Tower Bridge but still something instantly recognisable. It is a genuine ancient Egyptian obelisk, actually created for Thutmose III in around 1450bc and formed of a single piece of granite that was towed to England between 1877 and 1878 in a specially constructed iron cylindrical barge. A journey that is worth the effort to research in itself if you want to appreciate the 'needle'.
Cleaopatras Needle is impressive if you keep in mind the time it was created, the tools available and try to imagine it in it's original setting. I've seen a similar monument in Luxor where it's eight (Cleopatra's Needle is about 21m tall) is harder to appreciate because it is hemmed in by the temple remains, yet I have no doubt that it would be more impressive in Egypt. Here on the Victoria Embankment it seems to lose something of its grandeur and seems quite alien to it's surroundings. At it's base and facing towards it are two bronze sphinxes that are every bit Victorian rather than Egyptian and somehow I found it somewhat disappointing simply because it seems a little lost here on the bank of the Thames. At night I expected it to be lit but it wasn't at the time of writing and it was almost impossible to appreciate when the sun has gone down. If you want to visit and see for yourself it's very close to the Embankment tube station and you should head to the left on the embankment as you leave the station.

Visited January 2012
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