Angel from the Liotru Obelisk

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This angel is a detail scanned from the big elephant obelisk standing in Piazza Duomo in Catania, Sicily, Italy. The elephant obelisk is situated in the centre of the city of Catania, in Piazza Duomo. Right in front of the obelisk, the Cathedral can be appreciated surrounded by it’s courtyard and gardens. The elephant is a dear symbol to all the people from Catania as it represents the city. The word “liotru” giving the name to the obelisk, is a Sicilian word meaning “elephant”. This word derives from an old legend telling about the adventures of Eliodoro, a young magician that lived in 725 d.C.. The name Eliodoro then became “Liotru” in Sicilian. Legend says that Eliodoro was a powerful magician who loved to spend his time tormenting the people living around Catania. He loved to play tricks, scare and torment them day and night. One day he decided to use black magic to sculpt a black elephant, he made it from the lava rock of volcano Etna. That elephant is the one that we can see standing in the centre of the square today! The elephant then became an important symbol for the city, people started seeing it as a protector of the city, able to stop the lava from reaching the homes of the people living in the city of Catania. The importance of the elephant is also tied to another legend going back to the time when Sicily was a Muslim domain. At that time legend says that an elephant protected the city from a group of fierce beats that invaded the city.

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