The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Axum Obelisk Update

Author - Anne Parsons

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has recently signed a contract with an Italian construction company to begin work on the re-erection of the Axum obelisk (stela 2 which was transported to Rome by the troops of Mussolini in 1937 and returned by the Italian Government in April 2005).

The total budget for the project is $2,833,985, funded by the Italian Government who also financed the transportation of the obelisk and the related studies undertaken by UNESCO in collaboration with the Ethiopian authorities and experts. Work is planned to start mid July and will continue for 18 months. During the first phase, a foundation for the obelisk will be built, as well as a temporary steel tower for lifting the separate parts of the obelisk. In the second phase, the steel structure will be put in place and the obelisk lifted and placed in position. Finally, the surface of the obelisk will be cleaned and restored, and the steel support structure dismantled and removed.

The Ethiopian authorities plan to mark the end of their Ethiopian Millennium celebrations by inaugurating the standing obelisk on 11 September 2008.

First Published in News File Summer 2007

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