The Unfinished Obelisk lies, in its original location, in a granite quarry in Aswan. It is 42m in length and was most probably abandoned when some cracks appeared in the rock, during its construction. Had this obelisk been completed, it would have been the heaviest obelisk ever cut in Ancient Egypt, weighing nearly 1100 tons! It is believed that it was constructed and abandoned during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty).
During the earliest ages, the Ancient Egyptians knew the so-called “ Pn-pn”, which was a pyramidal stone with a pointed top and according to their beliefs the “Pn-pn” symbolized the primeval hill from which the world first appeared. Then, in the course of time, this Pn-pn evolved to be an obelisk usually made of granite with a pyramidal shape on top.
During the 5th Dynasty, the obelisk began to play an important role inside the temples of Ra; the obelisk being a sacred symbol of the cult of the sun. They were erected on a great base in an open court, and then as the suns rays fell on its pyramidal top, the bright light filled the Temple, giving the people a symbol of the power of the sun. One of the most important obelisks, which still stand in pride in the district of El Mataraya, was erected in front of the entrance of the vanished temple of Re at Heliopolis. King Senwosret I, to commemorate the ceremony of the “Heb-sed”, dedicated it to the temple.
In the New Kingdom, especially at the time of the 18th and 19th Dynasties, the Kings used to erect obelisks in front of the different temples for religious and political reasons.