The Piazza del Popolo Obelisk
Piazza del Popolo
Did you know...? The city of Rome is home to 13 obelisks - 8 of them are ancient Egyptian and 5 are Roman.
The one above can be found at the Piazza del Popolo, a large square which lies inside the northern gate in the Aurelian Walls. The piazza was originally conceived in 1538 as the main northern gateway into the city. Before railroads, this was the starting point for the Via Flaminia and was the traveller's first view of Rome upon arrival. Up until 1826, it was also well known as a place of public executions. Since its inception it has undergone many alterations, the most recent being in 1823 by the architect Giuseppe Valadier.
The Egyptian obelisk in the piazza's centre is 36 metres high (including its plinth), making it one of the tallest obelisks in Rome. It was originally from Heliopolis in Egypt and was brought to Rome by Augustus in 10 B.C. Originally it was erected at the Circus Maximus before being moved to Piazza del Popolo in the 16th century.
The obelisk was originally made for Sety I but was later erected by Ramesses II - one side of the obelisk was carved during Ramesses' reign. It has 4 lion fountains around its base and the piazza has sweeping walls surrounding the square. On top of these walls are Egyptian-style sphinxes.