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Unfinished Obelisk

  • Aswan, Upper Egypt, Egypt

Last updated: 28 April, 2024

This colossal structure, left incomplete around 1500 BC, offers a unique insight into ancient Egyptian stoneworking techniques. Had it been completed, it would’ve been the largest obelisk ever erected.

It was commissioned by the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1507–1458 BC) for the purpose of complementing the Lateran Obelisk, which is now in Rome, at the entrance to the Karnak Temple in Luxor.

Obelisks were often erected in pairs at the entrances to temples and were significant monuments in Ancient Egyptian religion, believed to act as a connection between the earth and the sun god, Ra. Unfortunately, the Unfinished Obelisk developed cracks during its construction – which can still be seen – and was subsequently abandoned.


Price from: £5
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

This is definitely a site to visit with a guide – ask your hotel to arrange one specifically, or see our recommendations below for wider guided tours that include a stop-off here.

Guides will provide you with fascinating insights into the beliefs of Ancient Egyptians, the history of the temple-building and methods of stone-making. If you go it alone, it can be a bit ‘meh’.

You won’t need more than 1 hour.

When to do it

The site is open all year round, seven days a week.

Who to go with: organised tours


Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Aswan Day Tour Visiting Philae Temple, Unfinished Obelisk and High Dam in Aswan

  • Aswan

See the highlights of picturesque Aswan on a comprehensive tour with an expert Egyptologist guide. Traveling by air-conditioned vehicle, start with views of the Aswan High Dam, the massive 1960s structure built to counter the annual flooding of the Nile. Admire the dam and then see the Unfinished Obelisk, a gigantic, half-carved obelisk abandoned in its quarry by ancient quarrymen. Later, ride a boat to Philae Temple, renowned for its beautiful island location. Tour the magnificent courts, terraces and chambers dedicated to the goddess Isis before returning to Aswan proper.

Price $65

Min age 6

Rating 4.71 / 5 [64 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Aswan: Guided Tour to High Dam, The Obelisk & Philae Temple by Motorboat

  • Aswan

Explore three of Aswan's most popular and well known sites. Walk on the High Dam which separates Lake Nasser from the Nile, be astounded at the size of the Unfinished Obelisk, and enjoy the beauty of Philae Temple's island location. Visit the Philae Temple, built in honor of the goddess Isis Enjoy a visit to the magnificent Unfinished Obelisk View the High Dam of Aswan – a miracle of engineering Marvel at the River Nile from a motor boat Enjoy fantastic aerial views Pickup from a centrally located meeting point Free hotel pickup and drop-off included Hotels/ Nubian guest house / Nubian Motels In Gharb Sohile and West of Aswan Pickup or drop off will be extra 10 usd per person Led by a Friendly and knowledgeable tour guide

Price $65

Min age 3

Rating 4.8 / 5 [35 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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