Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Peace Pole Project (Multilingual Obelisks)

I've noticed these multilingual obelisks around town for a while but yesterday was the first time I actually stopped to take a close look at a few of them. Each pole bears a different message of peace on each side (typically "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in various languages).

Based on the shape of these objects, I had just assumed the poles were some sort of "DC thing" until I learned (online) that these are actually part of the Peace Pole Project, a larger movement to erect monuments like these worldwide.

From left to right: 1 = Monolingual pole, Foggy Bottom; 2 - 4 = Octolingual pole, William Penn House, Capitol Hill. In alphabetical order, the languages on the William Penn House pole are Arabic, Cherokee, Chinese (simplified), English, French, Hopi, Spanish (I'll leave it up to you to sort out which is which).

It's possible to custom order a peace pole on this website (including hexagonal ones!). See this website for more on the history of the peace pole project.


  1. Last Saturday, at the Seattle Esperanto Society's summer picnic, we erected an eight-sided, 16-language peace pole in our front yard; the canopy has now been removed and the pole is readily visible from the street.

    The 16 languages are French, Spanish, Italian, Icelandic, Norwegian, (Cyrillic) Uzbek, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (traditional, I think), Filipino (probably Tagalog, maybe Cebuano), Hungarian, Polish, English and Esperanto. These represent official and/or predominant languages of Seattle's 21 Sister Cities, although at least two (Cambodian and Indonesian) of those languages are missing.

  2. LBR - great to see a comment from a reader all the way across the country in the "other" Washington (state). That 16-language pole is pretty impressive. P.S. I notice that you blog in Esperanto! Makes me want to start learning it...