Elegant Art Humour: HELIOPOLIS.
The name of Heliopolis, or City of the Sun, was given by the Greeks to the Egyptian City of On. It was situated a little to the north of Memphis, was one of the largest cities of Egypt during the reign of the Pharaohs, and so adorned with statues as to be esteemed one of the first sacred cities in the kingdom. The temple dedicated to Re, was a magnificent building, having in front an avenue of sphynxes, celebrated in history, and adorned with several obelisks, raised by Sethosis Rameses, B.C. 1900. By means of lakes and canals, the town, though built on an artificial eminence, communicated with the Nile, and during the flourishing ages of the Egyptian monarchy, the priests and scholars acquired and taught the elements of learning within the precincts of its temples. At the time of Strabo who visited
this town about A. D. 45, the apartments were still shown in which, four centuries before, Eudoxus and Plato had labored to learn the philosophy of Egypt. Here Joseph and Mary are said to have rested with our Saviour. A miserable village, called Metarea, now stands on the site of this once magnificent city. Near the village is the Pillar of On, a famous obelisk, supposed to be the oldest monument of the kind existing. Its height is 67½ feet, and its breadth at the base 6 feet. It is one single shaft of reddish granite (Sienite), and hieroglyphical characters are rudely sculptured upon it.