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The Obelisk of Axum is a 1700-year-old, 24-meters (78-foot) tall granite obelisk, weighing 160 tonnes. It is decorated with two false doors at the base, and decorations resembling windows on all sides. The obelisk ends in a semicircular top part, which used to be enclosed by metal frames.
The obelisk was carved and erected in the town of Axum (in modern-day Ethiopia) during the 4th century by subjects of the Kingdom of Aksum, an ancient Ethiopian civilization. It was looted from Axum by the Italian army in 1937, after the Italian conquest of Ethiopia, and taken to Rome to stand in front of the Ministry for Italian Africa (later the headquarters of the United Nations's Food and Agriculture Organization). In a 1947 UN agreement, Italy agreed to return the obelisk, but little action was taken to implement the agreement for 50 years.
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The most important section of that ancient Landing Place was its northwestern corner, where the remains of the Jupiter temple are located. Its ruins stand atop a platform that rose even higher by rows of perfectly shaped stone blocks weighing some 600 tons each. (Fig. 3); this is a weight that no existing modern equipment can lift. (By comparison, the stone blocks of the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt, weigh about 25 tons each).