Work has been completed to re-erect the ancient Axum obelisk at its original spot in the northern Ethiopian city from which it takes its name. Thousands of people gathered in Axum on 4 September to watch the unveiling of the 160-tonne stele measuring 24 metres in height, which is considered one of the most important national treasures.
The complicated reassembly brings to a close a saga that began in 1937, when the 1,700-year-old stele was removed from Axum during the Italian occupation and transported to Italy, where it was erected in central Rome. Following years of pressure from the Ethiopian government and after a damaging lightning strike the obelisk was finally dismantled and flown back to Ethiopia in pieces in 2005. Reinstallation was originally due to take place in 2006 but was repeatedly delayed.
Founded in 100 BC and the one-time capital of a vast kingdom, Axum has been on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites since 1980.