Cleopatra's Needle is a magnificent piece of ancient architecture that can be found on the embankments of the Thames river in London. It is one of four similar 'Needle' structures taken from Egypt - one in London, one in New York (these first two are a pair), one in Paris and one that remains in its original site, Luxor (these last two are also a pair). Despite their names, the Needles actually have very little connection to Cleopatra, having been made in 1460BC, over a thousand years before Cleopatra was born.
It was shipped over to England from Alexandria, Egypt, in 1878 as a commemoration to Britain's victory over Napoleon in 1815. It cost £15,000 to transport the needle the 3013mile journey by boat. Six men sadly died during this journey, when on October 14th 1877, the ship carrying the needle (which was built by the Dixon brothers and named 'Cleopatra'), suffered severe damage and almost sunk completely. The 'Cleopatra' and her ancient cargo was towed to safety, and arrived in London in January 1878, where Cleopatra's Needle was winched into proud position on the embankment of the Thames.
The Needle still holds pride of place on the embankment to this day, next to the embankment underground station. The additions of two, large, bronze sphynxes either side of the Needle was made by the Victorians - replicas of the original Egyptian sphynxes.
, London , WC2N 6LS
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