An obelisk is a four sided single piece of stone standing upright, gradually tapering as it rises and ending in a small pyramid called a “pyramidion.”
Obelisks always attracted attention by their polish, their decoration , and above all their lofty height. Whether they are still standing in their original places in egypt or adoring a square in another country.
They were signs of victory to the ancient Egyptian, and the inscriptions carved on them record the titles and achievements of the Pharaohs.
Obelisks known in the sacred ancient Egyptian language as benben or Tekhenu . When the Greek became interested in Egypt, obelisks attracted their attention and they gave the name “obeliskos” from which the modern name is derived. In Arabic the term is Messalah, which means a large patching needle and it has a reference to the object’s form.
Obelisks are impressive not only for their lofty size and graceful form, but also for their marvelous polish and beautiful decoration. No one can deny that the Egyptians were very skillful in producing such wonders with relatively primitive techniques.
The pharaohs used to make obelisks of granite and specially the larger ones. A few were made of quartzite and basalt. Granite whether red or black is found in Egypt only in the area around Aswan. The most important quarries were those of the island of Elephantine and Seheil, those near the unfinished obelisk, and those in shellal opposite the island of Philae.