June 25, 2007

What time is it? (2) - A sun-dial

There are some landmarks which could serve as sun-dials. The obelisk on Place de la Concorde is one of them. The obelisk, which was transported to France and erected here with the great technical difficulties that you can imagine, in 1836, is one of the two that were given to (not quite “stolen by”) France. Fortunately, one of the pair finally remained where it should be, in Egypt and in front of the Ramses II Luxor temple.


Just before World War I, someone came up with the idea to use this needle to create a sun-dial, but because of the war the idea was never finalised. The same idea came up just before World War II, with the same result. And, then again in 1999, there was a new try.


I recently happened to read about this sun-dial idea. I had never noticed it, so I went back to check. Looking on the pavement, the result doesn't seem very satisfactory. The lines which have been traced seem not to have resisted very well, are hardly visible and - at least according to my watch - the time indicated was not correct, even taking into account the “summer time” and the one hour difference.

Maybe the whole thing should at last be done properly? ... and what about the Eiffel tower?

There is also a small mystery: Along one of the lines, obviously from the second try in 1938, there is a small copper plate with the inscription “Au levant de Thèbes surgit à Paris le Nord”, which is difficult to translate or even to understand in French. I managed to find a blog, where some experts have tried to interpret the text. There could possibly be a reference to the rising of Thebes and the (more recent) rising of Paris in the north, but no clear explanation seems to have been found. Maybe you can come up with it?

32 comments:

GMG said...

Great pictures Peter. No chance of linking Thèbes with Paris...
Also liked the Fete post.Actually, there is no «Fête de la Musique» in Lisbon. What we have in June is a whole month of popular entertainment connected with the Days dedicated to St. Anthony (June 13), St. John (June 24) and St. Peter (June 29). Our «Festa da Musica» is more like the «Journée Folle» de Nantes created by René Martin and usually takes place in the third weekend of April at the Belem Cultural Centre...

Shionge said...

How interesting Peter...hmmm...you certainly 'studied' Paris well :D I've enjoyed this pal!

Ex-Shammickite said...

Yes, a mystery... I wonder how many people actually notice this small plaque. I love the first pic showing the obelisk, the lamppost and the Tour d'Eiffel.

Keshi said...

What time is it? It's time to say Happy Bday to Keshi :):)

Great pics Peter!

Keshi.

Drama Div@ said...

Are you a local tourist guide or a historian by profession...

Cergie said...

Amusantes tes réflexions...
J'ai raconté déjà à HPy comme mon père avait longtemps étudié la question pour mettre un cadran solaire dans notre jardin qui était à l'écart de la maison. (entre nous, Peter, j'ai repris mes publications sur mon blog jardin. Je seais contente que tu y passes si tu as envie de voir des fleurs toi qui les aimes tant. Et te sortir un peu de Paris).
Donc il a étudié cela longtemps car Maman n'avait jalmais de montre, jusqu'au jour où il s'est aperçu que le soleil à l'heure où maman devrait rentrer était absent du jardin

Quant à ton petit insert qui ne veut rien dire, il y a tant de gens qui aiment l'ésotérisme
a mon avis c'est peut être le fait d'un groupuscule ou d'un individu isolé, qui sait ?
Comme le Da vinci Code qui a tant de succés en surfant sur ce goût de l'étrange.

hpy said...

Mystère...

Matritensis said...

Interesting, you must publish a Paris guide :)

Olivier said...

superbe alignement sur la premiere photo, j'adore.

lasiate said...

je te propose cet essai de commentaire en anglais .
http://www.mail-archive.com/sundial@uni-koeln.de/msg09988.html

Abraham Lincoln said...

Interesting post. I wonder if there is a story there for the people? Have you investigated doing newspaper stories? It might be something you like.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo

Halte-du-Berger said...

The Obélisque come from the Temple of Louxor as a Gift to France.

The temple of Louxor is in Thèbes, in Egypt.

The materialized line points in the direction of Thèbes.

Gerry (from Paris)

Peter said...

Thanks for all your comments.

matritensis, drama div@, Abraham:
I think there are already so many Paris guides... and I'm just starting to explore the city where I have lived for 33 years, but not had the time to visit more in detail. I have a lot to learn! ... and I do it just for fun!

lasiate:
The address you gave me is actually the only one I found, but it does not really give a definite solution. Sincere thanks anyhow!

Peter said...

halte-du-berger:
Thanks for this first visit!
That Luxor is in Thebes is clear, but to me - d others - the text was not quite clear anyhow.

If the line is not a time indication, but rather a ficitve line in the direction Thebes / Paris that would of course make the text more undertandable. However, the line goes directly into the XII sign on the pavement, which to me would indicate that it is rather a clear north / south line... and Thebes is not right in the south of Paris, rather clearly sout east. Of course, it could be taken symbolically as south and north.

isabella said...

Sounds very DaVinci Codish to me ;-)
I like how you framed that first photo, too!

I promise to do a negative post about Naples...soon!
If you are unfamiliar with a "caged lanai", I added an update to my post today.

MONA said...

this is very interesting! The sundial shud be 'fixed' now!

& that copper plate reminds me of Da Vinci Code! :)

Thanks for your kind words on my blog peter! much appreciated!

April said...

Very interesting that sundial idea. What I thought when I saw the photo first: the three towers. Interesting how your standpoint makes them almost look equally high.

Sonia said...

First of all, superb photos, Peter. Love this great reportage!

Thanks for your visiting and kind words about my "museum's photos!

If you have the time, take a look on my brand new blog, ONLY PHOTOS where I will post only photos without words.

Emily Lin said...

Awesome post and great photos, again! This is the first time I've seen a sundial. That's a huge one.

Too bad I don't speak French and couldn't help you anything for the sentence. :)

Ash said...

As always, wonderful images!

alice said...

Tu sais quoi, Peter? Que dirais-tu d'organiser un jeu de piste dans Paris autour de tous ces petits mystères que tu connais? Le Da Vinci machin serait dépassé et de loin!

Peter said...

Thanks again everybody for your kind comments.

alice:
Ca serait avec au moins autant d'erreurs que dans le Da Vinci "machin"! Tu viens?

Cuckoo said...

I too had never noticed this when I was in Paris !! Huh !! It was raining then.. & all I wanted was a shade over my head.

Nice post.

lyliane said...

Les deux obélisques furent offerts en 1830 à Charles X par Méhémet Ali, mais seul celui de droite à été abattu et transporté vers la France. En remerciement, Louis-Philippe Ier offrit une horloge qui orne aujourd'hui la cour de la mosquée de Méhémet-Ali au Caire, mais, pour l'anecdote, elle fut abîmée pendant le voyage et ne fonctionna jamais, au dire des Cairotes. Le deuxième obélisque, qui n’avait jamais quitté l’Égypte, fut officiellement « rendu » par la France en 1981, au début du premier septennat de François Mitterrand.J'ai vu l'obélisque(elle est d'une couleur sable là bas et l'horloge au Caire, mais je ne connaissais pas cette plaque à Paris, elle veut peut être dire que quand le soleil se lève à Thèbes, à Paris il se lève dans la continuité de l'obélisque de la Concorde. Tu devrais vérifier Peter..

lyliane said...

j'ai peut être trouvé un site qui donnerait une explication à cette plaque:/www.saf-lastronomie.com/csmp/arr8n/centrea84.html

Peter said...

lyliane:
Malheureusement une réponse claire n'est pas donnée sur le site que tu as indiqué. Un grand merci quand'même!!

Lilli & Nevada said...

I think you would be a very good tour guide, if ever i get there would you be my guide?

Peter said...

lilli & nevada:
Of course, with pleasure, just please advise a few days before you arrive!

Now, be aware that for each post I make, I have to study the subject, so I may not ne qualified for a global tour yet. I'm learning, bit by bit.

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Mr Whiskers said...

I would think that it is making reference to the fact that the obelisk came originally from Thebes, Egypt (The East) and has been risen to stand in Northern Paris, France.

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iran tours said...

interesting post and what time it is; well, i can say its time to forget the sadness and smile :)
please keep it up