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Ramses II Obelisk (Cairo International Airport)

Present Site:  Cairo International Airport, Front of Terminal #1, Heliopolis, Egypt
N 30°07'28.9"(30.124689) E 31°24'02.5"(31.400689)
Pharaoh:  Ramses II (The 19th Dynasty, reigned 13 Century BC)
Measurement:  About 17.0 meters high
Stone:  Red granite

About The Site:
This obelisk stands on the huge pedestal at the south of the vast parking lot in front of Terminal #1 of Cairo International Airport. The obelisk and its pedestal are at the center of the fenced area, which was fixed in 1984. The area looks like a park, but is not allowed to enter into the area. In the north side of the fence, there is an entrance but is locked. The pedestal is too big, and mismatch with the obelisk, but I guess it's probably because the rebuilder wanted to show it higher.

Obelisk in the Airport Obelisk on the huge pedestal

That was a good idea for erecting the obelisk at Cairo International Airport which is the front gate for Cairo. However, the place is far from the airport building, and there is no pedestrian way approaching to the obelisk. (Although we can reach to the obekisk place if we cross the road and the parking lot.) The fenced area which was probably developed by spending much money is now closed, so this was so wasteful.

How To Get There:
Every person comes to Egypt (Cairo) by air. Therefore everybody must be passing through this airport, but little people are aware of this obelisk. The obelisk is in front of Terminal #1, but neither the front of an arrival terminal nor a departure terminal. The international airlines mainly use the Terminal #3, which is far from the obelisk site.
For looking the obelisk, from Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino or from Novotel Cairo Airport would be convenient. From the front entrance of Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino, the obelisk can be seen beyond the elevated road. From the entrance of Novotel Cairo Airport (east next to Le Passage Cairo Hotel & Casino) the obelisk can be seen at diagonally forward left.
If we want to look the obelisk, we should just drop in these hotels, when we arrive or depart at the airport. However, we shouldn't go and look from the Terminal #1, because the luggage storage is not available due to the security reason. So luggage storage service of the hotel is recommended. I asked to keep my luggage at Novotel Cairo Airport, at free of charge, just saying at the front desk "I will take a meal later ... " The free shuttle bus for this hotel is available from Terminal #3.

About The Obelisk:
This obelisk was erected by Ramses II (reigned 1278-1212 BC) in Tanis, about 110 km northeast of Cairo, currently called San el-Hagar, and transported to here in 1984. Since most of the stone materials in the ruins of Tanis are the ones carried out from the Per-Ramesses, this obelisk would have originally been in Per-Ramesses. The height of this obelisk is, Wikipedia says 16.97 m, but UPI wire which reported the erection of this obelisk says 63 feet (equivalent to about 19.2 m).
This obelisk was obviously repaired the ones which were largely fragmented into two portions. The top pyramidion is unnaturally sharp. And, this obelisk was rebuilt without repairing the bottom, since the relief at the bottom is missing. The inscriptions of horus name, coronation name, and the birth name of Ramses II remain clearly, and its writing systems of the Horus name of Ramses II on each 4 sides are different.
About The Pair: Considering the size (height) and form, the obelisk in Gezira Island is quite similar. Both were originally in Tanis, and the name of Ramses II is inscribed. However, the obelisk in Gezira Island, its writing systems of the Horus name of Ramses II on each 4 sides are same. Also the shape of shaft of this obelisk (Airport Obelisk) is slightly slender than the one in Gezira Island. Therefore, this obelisk would not be the pair of the one in Gezira Island.
There is an another obelisk [I call it as "Obelisk 6 in Tanis"] which is currently lying down just behind of the entrance of ruins of Temple of Amen in Tanis. In terms of size (height) and writing system of inscriptions, this would be the pair of this obelisk, I consider.

Notes For Pictures:
Although the obelisk site is off-limits, but the obelisk can be seen, and we can take the photograph over the fence. I felt it's very regret of this current status which is a little away from the terminal building and is not known actively, although the location, at the International Airport is good as many people come and go.
When I was here in August 2014, it was just before sunset, so the picture was in reddish. Then I visited here again in April 2016. I hired a car at the airport, and asked the driver to go to downtown Cairo through the side of obelisk. Since the car passes on the elevated road, I could take a picture of south side without the obstacle (elevated road).

East Side

North Side

West Side

South Side

South Side: August 6, 2014, Other Sides: April 26, 2016     by Hiroyuki Nagase    (For high definition image, please click the picture)

Copyright Hiroyuki Nagase nagase@obelisks.org and Shoji Okamoto okamoto@obelisks.org