Archive for June 4th, 2008

Putting Axum Obelisk together again

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

The obelisk is one of seven 80-foot high basalt monoliths erected in the Ethiopian city of Axum to celebrate their adoption of Christianity in the 4th c. A.D.

Mussolini stole it in 1937 and erected it near the Circus Maximus to celebrate his 15th anniversary in power, and although Italy signed a UN treaty in 1947 promising to return the monument, many successive Italian governments had something better to do until 2005.

But even when Italy did get around to it 50 years late, the obelisk’s return to Axum would not be an easy one. They had to cut it into three pieces and commission a specially-built cargo plane to ship them one at a time.

Then once the eagles finally landed, the Ethiopian authorities had to figure out how to put them together and restore the obelisk to its former glory as a royal grave marker without damaging the grave it marks.

Now, at long last, the moment has come. By the end of June, the obelisk should be back in its place.






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