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St. Peter's Square obelisk.

Posted by
Michael Skorulski (Toronto, Canada) on 23 June 2008 in Architecture and Portfolio.

Vatican City, Rome. My daughters just got back from a school trip to Rome, Italy and this was one of my favorite pictures taken by Kika.

The 25.5-meter obelisk was built around 1,300 B.C. in Egypt. About A.D. 37, the Roman Emperor Caligula transported the obelisk from Egypt to Rome, and erected it in the Caligula Circus (later called Nero Circus or Vatican Circus) to one side of where current St. Peter's Basilica stands.

All the Egyptian obelisks in Rome toppled down in the Middle Ages except this one. Egyptologist Labib Habachi gives a reason in his book: "Legend has it that in the Vatican Circus (Caligula Circus) innumerable Christians, including St. Peter, were put to death and that the reason this obelisk was not later overturned as were all the others in Rome was that it was looked upon as the last witness to the martyrdom of St. Peter."

Pope Sixtus V directed the obelisk to be re-erected at the center of St. Peter's Square in 1586, in front of the "new" Basilica of St. Peter, which was under construction at that time. It still remains there today.

OLYMPUS C460ZdelSol 1/125 second F/8.7 ISO 50 6 mm

1/125 second
ISO 50
6 mm