Stele 2: The Second Largest Stele
The second tallest stele is 24.6m high and 170 tonnes in weight. Its beautiful design is very similar to that of Stele 3, but with eleven stories: One with doors, one with small windows and nine with similarly carved windows. This stele is decorated on its four sides. Looted by Fascist Italy in 1937, it was taken to Rome in three pieces. Unable to produce anything of a similar size or quality of such a wonderfully chiselled stele, Benito Mussolini found some consolation by looting this wonderful architectural masterpiece. It took seven decades before Italy finally succumbed to the intense diplomatic and popular pressure from Ethiopia and friends of Ethiopia to return the stolen stele to its rightful owners. The obelisk was returned home to Ethiopia in 2005, prompting a nation–wide celebration.