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Obelisks are stone columns that were made in Ancient Egypt almost 4,000 years ago. Some were taken away as trophies by invading armies and are now in cities such as Rome, London, Paris, New York and Istanbul. More recently, people have built memorials based on the design of obelisks.
A column commemorating the battle of San Jacinto (1836) near Houston, Texas, USA, is the world's tallest monument at 174m. It was completed in 1939.
The Washington Monument, Washington DC, USA, was completed in 1884. It is 169m tall, made of 36,491 stone blocks on an iron frame and weighs 82,421 tonnes. It was the world's tallest structure for five years until it was overtaken by the Eiffel Tower in 1889.
• The Wellington Monument in Dublin, Ireland is a stone obelisk made to celebrate the victories of the Duke of Wellington. It was completed in 1861 and is Europe's tallest obelisk at 63m. The Monument in London commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was built in 1667 and is 62m tall.
• Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, was completed in 1842 to celebrate Britain's great naval commander. The column is 44m high and has a 5m statue of Nelson on top.
• The tallest Egyptian obelisk is in the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome, Italy. It measures 32m. The tallest still in Egypt is in Karnak and is 30m tall. The Ancient Egyptian obelisk in New
York is 22m and the London obelisk, Cleopatra's Needle, is 21m.