/hee'lee op"euh lis/, n.
1. Biblical name, On. an ancient ruined city in N Egypt, on the Nile delta.
2. ancient Greek name of Baalbek.

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Ancient holy city, Egypt.

The city, which is now mainly ruins lying northeast of Cairo, was the seat of worship of the Egyptian sun god Ra. Its great temple of Ra was second in size only to that of Amon at Thebes, and its priesthood wielded great influence. In the New Kingdom, the temple became the repository of royal records. The city's surviving monument is the obelisk of Sesostris I, the oldest in existence. Two obelisks erected there by Thutmose III and known as Cleopatra's Needles now stand on the Thames River embankment in London and in Central Park, New York City.

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▪ ancient city, Egypt
(Greek), Egyptian  Iunu  or  Onu (“Pillar City”) , biblical  On 

      one of the most ancient Egyptian cities and the seat of worship of the sun god, Re. It was the capital of the 15th nome of Lower Egypt, but Heliopolis was important as a religious rather than a political centre. During the New Kingdom (Egypt, ancient) (c. 1539–1075 BCE) its great temple of Re was second in size only to that of Amon at Thebes, and its priesthood wielded great influence, particularly during the 5th dynasty (Egypt, ancient) (c. 2465–c. 2325 BCE), when the worship of Re became the state cult.

      Little remains today of this great ancient Egyptian (Egypt, ancient) city. The sole surviving monument is the obelisk of Sesostris I, the oldest obelisk in existence. Of the pair of obelisks erected by Thutmose III in Heliopolis, now known as Cleopatra's Needles, one stands on the Thames (Thames, River) embankment in London and the other in Central Park, in New York City.

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Universalium. 2010.

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