Vaticano Egyptian Obelisk

Vaticano Egyptian Obelisk, Vatican City: Address, Vaticano Egyptian Obelisk Reviews: 4/5

Vaticano Egyptian Obelisk
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The area
Neighbourhood: Vatican / Borgo
Frocked priests, colorful Swiss Guards, insistent souvenir shop owners, flag-waving tour guides, and pilgrims from around the world. This is the Vatican and Borgo, Rome's most recognized neighbourhood which acts as Vatican City's front yard. Aside from the souvenir boutiques and a few food spots, the only business conducted here is papal. In the daytime, the tiny medieval sector bustles with holy activity, as visitors vie for elbow room, or stand in line for a visit. Once the sun sets, the neighbourhood is transformed into a quiet and picturesque hamlet.
How to get there
  • Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani • 10 min walk
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Popular mentions

4.0
732 reviews
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291
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303
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127
Poor
8
Terrible
3

Vadim
Murmansk, Russia21,284 contributions
Egyptian phallus as a good reinforcement to Catholicism.
Jun 2021
To paraphrase Mayakovsky's famous expression about the stars, we ask: if they install obelisks,so does anyone need it? Egyptian obelisks lay for many years in Rome on the ruins of ancient palaces and were not needed by anyone. However, they began to be installed in the XVI century. Why? The ancient Greeks and Sigmund Freud would say as phallic symbols. At the end of the XVI century, Pope Sixtus V waged wars with robbers around Rome, with Protestants in France and Germany, with Queen Elizabeth of England. The Egyptian phallus was a good reinforcement to Catholicism, which no longer convinced everyone. It is interesting that this obelisk is the only one in Rome not demolished by Christians in a frenzied struggle with antiquity. Maybe because of the proximity to the first basilica in this place. Initially, Pharaoh Feros erected an obelisk in Heliopolis as a sign of gratitude for his deliverance from blindness. Then Octavian Augustus moved him to Alexandria, and Caligula to Rome.Sixtus V ordered to move it to the center in front of the facade of the Basilica of St. Peter. However, due to the fact that the facade was not finished then, in the end the obelisk was not quite in the center, namely shifted 4 meters from the axis. What does it mean to follow the sequence of operations! Moving the obelisk turned out to be a non-trivial task. Architect Domenico Fontana coped with the task thanks to a rare knowledge of the laws of statics at that time (now, alas, too). More than 900 people, using a huge wooden frame, ropes and pulleys, raised the obelisk 60 cm above the ground and brought a platform under it. Then the obelisk was carefully placed on the platform and transported to a new location. An engraving of this operation is kept in the Vatican Library. But the bronze ball from the top of the obelisk is kept in the Capitoline Museums. The Romans believed that Julius Caesar's ashes were kept inside the ball. Fontana didn't find anything in the balloon. But tourists can find bullet marks on the surface of the ball in the Capitol Museums. This is a memory of the entertainment of the soldiers of Emperor Charles V during the occupation of Rome in 1527. And instead of a ball , a cross and a star were installed on the obelisk - the symbols of Sixtus V. Vanity is a terrible thing...
Written 28 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

AMohsen
Port Said, Egypt400 contributions
Egyptian Obelisk is always present
Feb 2020
It is interesting to always find an Egyptian obelisk in too many popular places in Europe. This fascinating one is well decorating the center of St. Peter's Square.
Written 25 January 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

John W
4 contributions
Amazing Silent Witness
Jul 2020
The obelisk is in the middle of St. Peter's Square because it witnessed the crucifixion of St. Peter. It is called "the Silent Witness" because it cannot tell us what it saw and experienced, but it was most definitely in the Circus of Nero (very close to and overlapping the current St. Peter's Square) when Peter was crucified there in 67 A.D. Visually it is not extraordinary or remarkable, but that is not why it is interesting or why it is in the square. Its greatest significance is that it witnessed the crucifixion of St. Peter -- and is probably one of the last objects St. Peter saw just before he was killed.
Written 13 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Malgorzata
10,542 contributions
Impressive
May 2019
The central place of the Saint Peter's Square is occupied by one of the thirteen Egyptian obelisks in Rome. Originally adorned the Nero Circus, where it was set in honor of Julius Caesar. According to tradition, he witnessed the martyrdom of Saint Peter and other Christians. The obelisk dates from the 13th century B.C.E., in the years 37-41 it was brought to Rome on the orders of the emperor Caligula. The obelisk itself, as it was brought from Egypt, weighed 487 tons and was 25.5 m high. It is was the only obelisk that was not demolished after the conquest of Rome by the Visigoths in 410. In 1586, Pope Sixtus V ordered that architect Domenico Fontana move it to its present place . The obelisk was then marked with Latin inscriptions. Together with the base and the cross, the obelisk is currently 39.81 m high. Worth to see.
Written 13 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Foodie_CST🍽🇷🇴
Kolios, Greece5,134 contributions
Interesting to see
Jun 2019 • Family
Very interesting to see such an old Egyptian obelisk in the middle of St. Peter's Square, defintely worth checking if you are in the area. Not very impressive but it's worth taking a closer look.
Written 7 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

backpacker31
Boynton Beach, FL5,376 contributions
Decorative Piece - Doesn’t Belong In Vatican City
Feb 2020 • Solo
Although the obelisk makes for a nice decorative piece within St. Peter’s Square, I’m not really sure why Vatican City would choose to keep such a trophy ‘on their front lawn,’ especially since this particular obelisk (along with many others throughout Rome) were obtained via the spoils of war. Even more ironic, is that this particular obelisk was originally part of Caligula’s private circus!
Written 29 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lance H
Boerne, TX1,277 contributions
Nice focal point
Dec 2019
This is a nice focal point for the center of Saint Peter Square. The Romans loved Egyptian obelisks and this is a nice one. While it is situated nice and adds to the setting, the actual obelisk is nothing special.
Written 28 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Greg
Cambridge, UK5,204 contributions
The centre of St Peter’s Square
Feb 2020 • Friends
I noted several Obelisk columns throughout Rome including this monument in Vatican City. Apparently this one was erected by an unnamed Egyptian pharaoh. It is over one-hundred foot tall and makes for a great picture in front of St Peter’s Basilica.
Written 27 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Leanne F
Vancouver, Canada26 contributions
Amazing sight!
Nov 2019
The Vatican museums and St Peter's Basilica are amazing. Then you step out into the sunshine and see this amazing site. Past the seating area for the faithful to hear the pope's weekly mass, stands a gorgeous Egyptian Obelisk and two beautiful huge fountains - one each side of the obelisk. Look up it's history - very interesting.
Written 19 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Calle K
Hong Kong, China1,768 contributions
Good location
Jan 2020
It is perfectly placed in the square. And now also a good way to hide the construction machines when taking photos. Come very early or late of you want a chance to examin it by yourselves. But there are more interesting obelisks in Rome, however, this one really sets the centre of the important square.
Written 6 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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