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3 Comments | Vintage
Cleopatra’s Needle was gifted to the UK by Muhammad Ali (ruler of Egypt) in 1819. It remained in Egypt until 1877, when this special "needle ship" Cleopatra was constructed to transport it to London, towed by another ship. The Cleopatra was briefly lost in a storm off the coast of France, but eventually recovered and arrived in London in January 1878.
/r/drydockporn would in interested in this too.
For comparison, the Americans figured out a less exotic way to transport obelisks with a conventional ship.
It should be noted that this "Cleopatra’s Needle" predates Cleopatra by around 1400 years. It was originally erected on the orders Thutmose III in Heliopolis around 1450 BCE, had additional inscriptions added to it by Ramesses II around 200 years later, and was later moved to Alexandria by the Romans around 12 BC, during the reign of Augustus.
It is one of three obelisks named "Cleopatra’s Needle", the other two being in New York (which has a similar history to the London one) and Paris (originally erected at the Luxor Temple during the reigh of Ramesses II).