The last piece of the Obelisk of Axum has finally been transported from Rome to Ethiopia in a giant Ukrainian Antonov aircraft. This finally brings a difficult operation to an end about 18 months after the obelisk was first dismantled.
The moument, which was removed from Ethiopia by Mussolini in 1937 and brought to Rome, is extremely delicate and it was damaged by lightning just before it was taken down to transport back to Ethiopia. The three blocks that make up the obelisk are also extremely heavy which was why it had to be transported back to Axum in three stages.
The obelsik stood outside the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome for many decades but its return was repeatedly requested by Ethiopia as it is considered a major part of the country's cultural and religious heritage.
The cost of returning the obelisk is estimated at between 7 and 10 million, and is being footed by the Italian government.