Reerection of the ancient Axum obelisk, which returned in April after 68 years in exile, will be completed before the start of the Ethiopian rainy season, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said here Saturday.
Francesco Bandarin, director of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, told journalists that the engineering design is due to be completed within the next month and have to ensure that engineering is properly prepared and no risk would be faced.
A technical mission of UNESCO, which included engineers, experts and archaeologists to discuss timing and technique for the reerection of the obelisk, is in Ethiopia, he said.
The scope of the mission was essentially to advance the technical engineering design for the reerection.
"As it is a complicated technical operation, we would like to have the most detailed, accurate study as well as engineering design in order to ensure the reerection would be done in the best possible way," said Bandarin.
The Axum archaeological site was registered in the UN World Heritage List in 1980.
Axum is a delicate and fragile archaeological site with a lot of underground structure needing extreme care on the way, which is why this complex engineering project would be executed, according to the UNESCO official.
Thus UNESCO has brought the most important experts in the world in the areas of monument, archaeological and soil mechanics equipped with state-of-the-art technologies, he said.
He said UNESCO is enjoying the full support of the Ethiopian government in the process of elevation of the obelisk.
The Axum obelisk, weighing 160 tons and standing 24 meters high, is around 1,700 years old and has become a symbol of the Ethiopian people's identity. In 1937 the invaders of fascist Italy have dismantled and taken it on the orders of Benito Mussolini.
Ethiopia is one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world. The ancient city of Axum, which was started by the Aksumites, was Ethiopia's first capital city.