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Mission accomplished: Aksum Obelisk successfully reinstalled

Friday, 1 August 2008
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Aksum, August 1 - The third and last block of the Aksum Obelisk was successfully mounted by the UNESCO teams yesterday 31 July in its original location in Ethiopia. The monument’s reinstallation was greeted with joy by the local people, who spontaneously organized musical concerts yesterday at the site.

Weighing 150 tons and 24 meters high, the obelisk is the second largest stela on the Aksum World Heritage site in northern Ethiopia, close to the border with Eritrea. Transported to Rome by the troops of Mussolini in 1937, it was returned in April 2005 by the Italian government. Its dismantling in Rome, transport and reinstallation were funded by the Italian government.

The obelisk is around 1,700 years old and has become a symbol of the Ethiopian people's identity. The inauguration ceremony will take place 4 September.

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