Obelisks are tall four-sided, narrow tapering monuments ending in a pyramid-like shape. They were first built by Ancient Egyptians. The Ancient Romans were strongly influenced by obelisks that now there are more obelisks in Rome than in Egypt. In fact, Rome is the obelisk capital of the world!
It can be noted, that obelisk monuments are everywhere in the United States as well. Some of these, visitors can actually climb. In Eastern United States, I know of 5 obelisk monuments that visitors can climb. I had been to 4 of these climbable obelisks and am hoping to visit the 5th.
Washington Monument, Washington DC
I believe this obelisk monument is the most popular in the United States. It is the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk at 554 feet and 7 11/32 inches. The Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC was built to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the United States of America.
Going up the top of the Washington Monument is free. Visitors may pick up tickets at the Washington Monument Lodge or online. Same day, timed free tickets distribution starts at 8:30am. It is best to arrive early to get tickets. To reserve online, there is a $1.50 non-refundable convenience fee.
Hubby and I went at winter time a few years ago. There were not many visitors, so we were able to get tickets from the Lodge without reservation.
Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown MA
Bunker Hill Monument was built to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first major conflict between British and Patriot forces in the American Revolutionary War. It stands at 221 feet with 294 steps to the top. Visitors may climb up for free. We dropped by when we were in the area. Visitors go up and down the monument at will. It was pretty hassle free.
Saratoga Monument, Victory Mills NY
This monument is part of Saratoga National Historical Park. It commemorates the American victory in the Battles of Saratoga. It stands at 155 feet with 188 steps to the top.
In season, it is open for self-guided climbs for free. There is a park ranger who facilitates and provides information as needed at the monument.
High Point Monument, High Point NJ
This is a 220-foot monument built in 1930 as a war memorial. It honors all war veterans. The monument is located at High Point State Park in Sussex County, New Jersey. The park requires an entrance fee of $5 for New Jersey residents on weekdays, $10 for non-residents. On weekends, the fee is $10 for NJ residents and $20 for non-residents.
From the top, visitors are able to see the states of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown MA
I haven’t been to this monument. From what I have read about it, it is worth visiting. It commemorates the first landfall of the Pilgrims in 1620 and the signing of the Mayflower Compact. It is 252 feet in height.
The monument does not really meet the definition of an obelisk as it does not end in a pyramid-like shape. The top looks like a castle tower. No matter, I would like to visit and climb it one day. It is 116 steps to the top with 60 ramps. There is a fee of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $4 for children to climb the monument.
Is there a climbable obelisk or monument near you?