History is an incredible thing. Some pretty insane stuff has happened and that’s just what was written down. For example, Napoleon was somehwhat of a conqueror. He roamed Europe raping and pillaging (my own conjecture) and taking whatever the hell he wanted.

Ok, so history may not be my strongest suit.

But visiting old sites is an easy to way to improve that. Many of you may have been to the Luxor Temple in central Egypt. Thousands of years old with intriguing hieroglyphics, statues and a single obelisk at the entrance ruining what would otherwise be a perfectly symmetrical facçade.

Luxor Temple with missing Obelisk
Luxor Temple with missing Obelisk
Luxor Temple with missing Obelisk in the day
Luxor Temple in the day

Many of you may have also been to Paris, in fact most likely more of you have than Luxor. If you walked by Place de la Concord you will no doubt have taken a photo of the large obelisk in the middle of the road and possibly thought nothing of it. But if you give it 10 seconds of thought you will think “why is there an Egyptian obelisk with hieroglyphics in the middle of Paris?

by David Light via Flickr Creative Commons
by David Light via Flickr Creative Commons
Obelisk at Place de la Concord
Silhouettey Obelisk at Place de la Concord

See what I’m going with this?

So I may not be the world’s greatest historian, but what I do know is that as Napoleon was raping and pillaging his way through Egypt, when he came across the Luxor Temple in central Egypt he just had to have one of those beautiful obelisks for himself. So he put it on a plane and brought it back to his home of Paris.

As a traveler I found this incredibly rewarding having been able to piece some of history together and picture in my mind exactly where the missing obelisk was right at this very moment, rather than having to imagine it.

Two ancient obelisks, separated by the Mediterranean. Worlds apart but cast from the same rock.

Call it Napoleons trophy if you will. A souvenir perhaps.

I’d call it overkill but that’s probably just semantics. I usually just bring back a magnet.

What other jaw-dropping facts about history have you learnt over your own travels? Let me know in the comments below.


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