Ancient Roman Obelisks Modern Obelisks
King Ezana's Stele in Axum.A number of obelisks were carved in the ancient Axumite Kingdom of Ethiopia. The most notable example – the 24 m high Obelisk of Axum carved around the 4th century AD – was looted by the Italians after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War and taken to Rome in 1937 where it stood in the Piazza di Porta Capena. Italy agreed in a 1947 UN agreement to return the obelisk but didn't first truly affirm its agreement until 1997, after years of pressure. In 2003 the Italian government made the first steps toward its return, and as of 2006 it is in Axum still awaiting re-erection due to the finding of older burial chambers on the intended site.