Vatican Obelisk in St. Peter's Square, Vatican, Rome - 4000 years old
Italy 3300BC-1200BC-Bronze Age Europe

Vatican Obelisk from St. Peter’s Square – 4000 years old

July 15, 2018
Year 1835 BC
Type Egyptian Obelisk
Getting there Car, plane, train
Made by According to some documents it was constructed during the time of King Nuncores of Egypt 
Where Heliopolis, Egypt
When to visit
  • Anytime
  • St Peter’s Square – free entry but long queues to security check
  • You can rent audio guides after security check
Location in Rome   Vatican, Rome, Italy, Europe

Vatican Obelisk – pink granite

  • Vatican Obelisk in St. Peter’s Square is an Egyptian Obelisk that is almost 4000 years old
  • Vatican obelisk is made from pink granite
  • There is placed in the center of the square.
  • It was hewn from a single block and stands 25.31 m. high on a base 8.25 m. wide.
  • The obelisk was built by the Pharaoh Mencares in 1835 BC in Heliopolis, Egypt,  in honor of the sun.
  • It was brought to Rome in 37 AD by Emperor Caligula (37-41)
  • It originally stood in his circus, later named circus of Gaius and Nero, on a spot to the south of the basilica, close to the present Sacristy.
  • It was a silent witness of the martyrdom of St. Peter and of many other Christians.
  • It is the second-highest obelisk in Rome, after the Lateran one, and the only one without hieroglyphics, but with Latin inscriptions.

Vatican Obelisk – A Sundial

  • It is also a sundial, its shadows mark noon over the signs of the zodiac in the white marble disks in the paving of the square.
  • For pagans, the obelisk was a solar symbol that represented a vital flow between heaven and earth, a way of communicating to the divine.
  • As a pagan monument in the greatest Christian square, it is a symbol of humanity reaching out to Christ. Originally inscribed to “Divine Augustus” and “Divine Tiberius” and now dedicated to the Holy Cross – “Christus Vincit, Christus Regnat, Christus Imperat. Christus ab omni malo plebem suam defendat.” It is topped by a bronze cross containing a fragment of the true Cross.

During the Middle Ages, a metal globe was at the top of the obelisk. It was believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar