The Lion of Judah is the personal symbol of Emperor Haile Selassie I. This monument was one of several unveiled for the Emperor’s coronation in 1930 in Addis Ababa. In May 1936 the invading Italian army occupied Addis Ababa and began to make plans to seize the monuments they liked to send back as spoils of war to Rome. They demolished several monuments to Emperor Menelik, who defeated the Italians in 1896. The Lion of Judea, despite weighing several tons, was shipped of to Rome and erected next to the large white Vittorio Emanuelle Monument in time for the 4th anniversary of the declaration of the New (Fascist) Italian Empire. A young Eritrean named Zerai Deres was marching in a parade when he realised he was looking at the looted monument, the personal symbol of his Emperor. The young man attacked and killed at least one Italian military officer with a ceremonial sword he was carrying. Deres was finally subdued and killed. From that day he has been known as an Ethiopian Patriot.
The statue was repatriated in the 1960’s while Emperor Haile Selassie was still in power. It is made from black granite, so it’s very dark. No, it’s not my camera. There are images in relief of Haile Selassie and Emperors Menelik II.
The Lion of Judah Statue stands in front of office buildings in central Addis Ababa. The statue was stolen by the Italians during their occupation of the city from 1936-1941. It is now a major landmark. Althought the statue is not spectacular, it has a great symbolic value. The lion is the symbol of heroism and resistance to Ethiopians.
The great Lion of Judah is the seal of the Emperor of Ethiopia. It was found in the centre of the national tri-color flag until it was replaced in the 80s by the military Derg's coat of arms and then in the 90s by the judaic yellow pentagram.
For all purposes the Lion remains the emblem of Haile Selassie as he marches eastwards. Two stone replicas I found while walking around Addis is a smaller one in the front courtyard of the Railway Station and another Larger Leo halfway down Churchill Avenue in front of a commercial bank (on left as you walk away from rail station)... They are indeed great iconic photos and emblems of Ethiopia..
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