Why did the Ancient Egyptians build so many Obelisks? What do they mean? And how?

The Egyptians called them ‘Tekhenu’. Later on, when the Greeks arrived in Egypt, they became known as Obeliskos. It means ‘pointed pillar’. The word passed through into Latin and ultimately English.

How these massive vertical monuments were made is not fully understood. It is believed they were cut directly out of the rock. The bottom face was still attached to the ground, then (by unknown means) it was extracted.

It is possible that by pounding the granite or limestone with hammers made out of Diorite, the workers would then insert long pieces of wood which were then saturated with water. The wood then expanded and cracked the rock.

Many obelisks have a socio-political purpose. Sometimes, a pharaoh would erect an obelisk to assert his or her power over the people. They were usually built and displayed in pairs for aesthetic purposes. They symbolized the sun god Ra, and during the religious reformation of Akhenaten, it was said to have been a petrified ray of the Aten. So they had religious purposes too.

Their artist style has been widely copied. Obelisks have sprung up all around the world since antiquity.

The Ancient Egyptians began it.