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Archaeologists on Thursday hoisted a 9-ton temple pylon from the waters of the Mediterranean that was part of the palace complex of the fabled Cleopatra before it became submerged for centuries in the harbor of Alexandria.
Divers and underwater archaeologists used a giant crane and ropes to lift the 9-ton, 7.4-foot-tall pylon, covered with muck and seaweed, out of the murky waters. It was deposited ashore as Egypt's top archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, and other officials watched.
The pylon was part of a sprawling palace from which the Ptolemaic dynasty ruled Egypt and where 1st Century B.C. Queen Cleopatra wooed the Roman general Marc Antony before they both committed suicide after their defeat by Augustus Caesar.
The temple dedicated to Isis, a pharaonic goddess of fertility and magic, is at least 2,050 years old, but archaeologists believe it's likely much older. The pylon was cut from a single slab of red granite quarried in Aswan, some 700 miles (more than 1,100 kilometers) to the south, officials said.
In recent years, excavators have discovered dozens of sphinxes in the harbor, along with pieces of what is believed to be the Alexandria Lighthouse, or Pharos, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Egyptian archaeologists pulled a red granite ruin from the seabed near Cleopatra's sunken palace this week that experts said showed the influence of pharaonic design well into Greek and Roman rule.
The block's pharaonic style indicated the influence of pharaonic architecture at the end of Cleopatra's rule and on the cusp of Roman supremacy, said Hary Tazlaz, head of the Greek mission that discovered the ruins in 1998.
"The pylon is a typically Egyptian piece of architecture," Tazlaz told Reuters. "The architecture of Alexandria in Hellenistic times was not a totally Greek architecture. It was a Greek dynasty but used pharaonic architecture."
In May, Hawass and Tazlaz plan to extract a 15-tonne, 7-meter tall door believed to be that of Cleopatra's mausoleum.