• World Heritage Review 51: reinstallation of the Aksum Obelisk

World Heritage Review 51: reinstallation of the Aksum Obelisk

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The greater part of this issue is devoted to the reinstallation of the great stele of Aksum in Ethiopia, an exploit that ranks alongside such major UNESCO achievements as the safeguarding and restoration of the temples of Abu Simbel and Borobudur.

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The stele, removed from Aksum in 1937 after Mussolini’s army had marched into Ethiopia, was assembled and raised in Rome. It stood there until 2005, when it was finally taken apart again and returned to Ethiopia. The reinstalled stele was initially intended to serve as a royal funerary monument. Today, it is widely seen as a symbol of the country itself, and its return and restoration were enthusiastically welcomed by the population.