Paris obelisk finally gets its gold cap

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PARIS (Reuters) - A gold-leafed pyramid cap was placed on top of an ancient Egyptian obelisk in the heart of Paris yesterday, more than 150 years after the project was first conceived.

The 107ft-tall obelisk, which was carved in the eighth century BC and given to France by an Egyptian viceroy in 1830, stands at the centre of the famous Place de la Concorde.

When the stone monument reached Paris in 1836, experts urged the French authorities to restore the masterpiece to its original splendour by putting a pyramid cap back on the pinnacle.

But it was not until last year that President Jacques Chirac agreed to back the 1.5m franc project as part of celebrations to mark Franco-Egyptian relations.

The 12ft-high hat is built out of bronze and covered with 23.5 carat gold leaf.