Obelisk of Arles

City Hall (Hôtel de Ville) is in the back center, and St. Trophime Church (Église St-Trophime) is in the back right of the obelisk.

Obelisk of Arles

Location:  Place de la République, Arles, France [About 15 minutes by walk from SNCF Arles Station]
Pharaoh:  It is probably a replica by Romans not by the Egyptian Pharaoh.
Height:  15.78 meters (15.26 meters?). 1.70 meter width at the basis. The pedestal is approximately 4.55 meters high.
Stone:  Red Granite

Story: The origin of this obelisk is not clarified. It was assumed this would be the Roman-made obelisk because the stone is once considered as blue porphyry and has no hieroglyphics. According to the recent researches, this obelisk is made of red granite from Assuan (or Aswan).

There is no record when and who carried this to Arles, and what for this obelisk was erected. Most probable story is that it was originally set up in the Roman circus of Arles as a "Spina" (turning point sign) in around 70-80 A.D. during the era of Titus Flavius Domitianus (11th Roman Emperor)

Town of Arles (Powered by G o o g l e )

The circus was destroyed and the obelisk eventually fell to the ground. People lost the interest in the obelisk for long time. Then the obelisk was discovered. But there are some stories below on the discovery:
¶ Discovered it by a farmer in a field near Arles during late 15th and early 16th centuries.
¶ Discovered it from ditch in 1389.
¶ Discovered and retrieved it in 1589 from the Rhône River.

The location for the obelisk was selected the Place Royale in front of St. Trophime church. in 1675, a contest was announced throughout France for an engineer who would succesfully move it to the Place. It took almost half year to move it and was completed on March 26, 1676, on the top of pedestal designed by the local architect Jacques Peytret, at the center of the Place which is today renamed the Place de la République. A fountain was added at its base in 19th century, together with bronze sculptures by Antoine Laurent Dantan.

How to Get There: The town map of Arles here. The large blue is Rhône (River).
Central Station of SNCF (Gare d'Arles)
Place du Forum is a square where the restaurant "Café Van Gogh" which was a model for famous painting "Le Café La Nuit" by Van Gogh.
The obelisk is in the Place de la République.
The north is an Arles' City Hall (Hôtel de Ville, back in the photograph above) with the "bell tower". Its left (west side) is Musèe Lapidaire d'Art Paien. Elegant St. Trophime church (Église St-Trophime, shady building right in the photograph above) is facing east of the square.

Back to the list for all the obelisks.

The series of these pages were produced by

Shoji Okamoto (Mr.)
E-mail: shoji_okamoto31@yahoo.co.jp

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