CAIRO – 15 November 2022: The transfer of the Luxor obelisk from Egypt to Paris was one of the greatest engineering accomplishments achieved in the early nineteenth century as no obelisk of this size ever left Egypt. It weighed 250 tons.
The task of transferring it to Paris was assigned to the then young French engineer Jean-Baptiste Apollinaire Lebas, in which he narrates in the book "The Obelisk of Luxor and its Journey to Paris". It is indeed a tale of adventure, excitement and drama, but also a story that is not widely known to the world.
The Lebas team was struck by the plague, and they had to wait four months for the Nile to rise for their ship to pass ashore, but in the end, the ship sailed from Luxor, with its precious cargo on board, across the Nile.
On October 25, 1836, among two hundred thousand jubilant Parisians, Lebas raised his obelisk and was given a wonderful reward by his king and a medal was struck in his name.
But why was the Luxor obelisk given to France? In 1830, Mohammad Ali Pasha decided to present the two obelisks standing in front of Luxor Temple to King Charles X of France. It was a gesture of friendship and gratitude for Champollion deciphering hieroglyphic symbols. The two obelisks were associated with the Egyptian sun god, and they represented rays of light.
For the ancient Egyptians, the obelisk was a monument commemorating the dead, representing their kings, and honoring their gods. These monuments were representative in terms of structure and arrangement, as they were monuments with a complete structure in terms of understanding and knowledge.
The Luxor Temple, in front of which the two obelisks settled before taking them to France, is one of the well-known ancient Egyptian temples. It is located on the eastern bank of the Nile in Luxor.
Founded in 1400 BC, the Luxor Temple was built to worship Amun-Ra and his wife Mut and their son Khonsu; They are the gods that are also called the Theban Triad.