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Aswan and Lake Nasser Sights

Unfinished Obelisk

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

Updated 09/02/2015

Fodor's Review

The site, to the east of the Fatamid Cemetery, is an abandoned workshop, in which balls of greenish dolorite are still lying about. Dolorite is an extremely hard stone that was attached to rammers and used to pound and dress the surfaces of the quarried granite. Note the rows of slots where wooden wedges were driven in, then soaked in water to expand and split the rock. The ancient techniques were so precise that once a stone was hewn, it needed only finishing touches to ready it for its place in a temple wall.

In this case, a flaw was discovered in the massive obelisk-to-be, and it was left imprisoned in the bedrock. Had it been raised, it would have stood 137 feet tall—taller than any other obelisk—and weighed 1,162 tons. But the stone's supine potential makes it no less impressive and takes little away from the scale of the ambition of the builders of old. Note that the site is a 20-minute walk from the Nubia Museum.

Sight Information


Aswan, Egypt

Sight Details:

  • £E40
  • Oct.–May, daily 7–4; June–Sept., daily 7–5

Updated 09/02/2015


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