Category:Obelisk of Axum

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English: The Obelisk of Axum (today, especially in Axum, also called the Rome Stele) is a 1,700-year-old, 24-metres (78-foot) tall granite stele / obelisk, weighing 160 tonnes. It is decorated with two false doors at the base, and decorations resembling windows on all sides. The obelisk, properly termed "stele" or the native "hawilt/hawilti" (as they do not end in a pyramid), was carved and erected (with many other stelae) in the city of Axum (in modern-day Ethiopia), probably during the 4th century A.D. by subjects of the Kingdom of Aksum, an ancient Ethiopian civilization. The obelisk of Axum collapsed and broke into three pieces as a result of one of this possible causes: structural collapse possibly immediately after their erection; earthquakes (Axum is in a seismical zone); or "iconoclastic" fury of islamic emir Ahmad Gragn, during Ethiopian-Adal War from 1529-43. In these conditions, it was found by Italians soldiers at the end of 1935, after the Italian conquest of Ethiopia. In 1937, it was looted as prey of war and moved to Rome by the Fascist regime, which wanted to commemorate the conquest of Ethiopia and the birth of the ephemeral "new Roman empire" (see Italian Empire). The stele arrived via ship in Naples on March 27, 1937. Then it was transported to Rome, where it was reassembled and placed on October 28, 1937 in Porta Capena square, commemorating the 15th anniversary of the March on Rome, in front of the Ministry for Italian Africa (later the headquarters of the United Nations's Food and Agriculture Organization) and the Circus Maximus. In a 1947 UN agreement, Italy agreed to return the stele to Ethiopia, obviously as prey of war. But little action was taken to return the stele for more than 50 years, also in consequence of the considerable technical difficulties related to such a transport and of the enormous costs necessary to overcome them. After the fall of the Mengistu regime, the new Ethiopian government asked anew for the return of the stele, finding a positive answer from the then president of the Italian republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, in April 1997. However, the repatriation project encountered a series of obstacles (the runway at Axum Airport was considered too short; the roads and bridges between Addis Ababa and Axum were thought to be not up to the task of road transport; and access through the nearby Eritrean port of Massawa – which was how the stele originally left Africa – was impossible due to the strained state of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia; Italy's claim of not having the money to pay for the transportation). At last the dismantled stele remained sitting in a warehouse near Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport. In April 2005 the three pieces was repatriated by use of an Antonov An-124, amidst much local celebration. The stele remained in storage while Ethiopia decided how to reconstruct it without disturbing other ancient treasures still in the area (especially King Ezana's Stele). By March 2007 the foundation had been poured for the re-erection of the stele near King Ezana's Stele, structurally consolidated in this occasion. Reassembly began in June 2008, with a team chosen by UNESCO and led by engineer Giorgio Croci (who had also surveyed its dismantling in 2003) and the monument was resurrected in its original home and unveiled on 4 September 2008.
Čeština: Aksúmský obelisk, známý též jako Římská stéla, je 24 metrů vysoký a 160 tun vážící žulový obelisk v Aksúmu, na severu Etiopie. V letech 1937 až 2005 se nacházel v Římě.

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Media in category "Obelisk of Axum"

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