The Sphinx of Giza
By Ale Coyote |
The Great Sphinx of Giza is the biggest stone sculpture in the world and it’s one of the main attractions in Egypt.
TRAVEL TO EGYPT AND VISIT THE GREAT SPHINX
DINKtravelers always recommends reading a little bit about the destination you’ll visit in order to better understand the local culture. In your next trip to Egypt, apart from admiring the architectonic beauty of the Pyramids of Guiza, take you time and discover the features of the Great Sphinx, which was built nearby. Even nowadays, it’s considered the biggest stone sculpture in the world, so we’re sure you’ll be interested in learning about this magnificent structure.
MEANING BEHIND THE SPHINX
First, it’s important to establish what sphinx-statues were and what they meant. They were usually sculpted in granite, alabaster and porphyry, and they represented creatures with lion-shaped bodies –their two front legs extended ahead. On the other hand, they had human heads that were similar to those of the pharaohs with all the accessories they typically wore.
Sphinx-statues were considered mystic guardians of temples and of the dead; that’s why many mausoleums had these figures that, Egyptians believed, scared evil spirits away.
THE GREAT SPHINX
It’s the biggest and most important of all the sphinx-statues that were built in Egypt. It’s found in the western riverside of the Nile, in the city of Giza (Gizeh), about twenty kilometers away from southeastern Cairo.
It represents the strength of a lion with human intelligence and it guards the royal mausoleum. It’s said that it was sculpted in the twenty first century B.C., in times of the fourth Egyptian dynasty, and it represents Khafre, who governed those territories.
Apparently, its body was painted in red while its head showed a blue and yellow combination of colors.
WHAT IS THE SPHINX MADE OF?
This huge statue known to the Egyptians as Abu el-Hol (Father of Terror) is sculpted in a single piece of limestone, which is mostly made of calcium –that’s why it has a beige color. It’s 57 meters wide for 20 meters tall; enough to impress and intimidate whomever visits the site, and perfect to use it as background in a selfie.
WHY DOES THE SPHINX HAVE NO NOSE?
Before, people believed that Napoleon’s troops were to be blamed for the destruction of the sphinx’s nose. However, researchers have found drawings from before Napoleon’s time. These drawings were created by an explorer who portrayed the sphinx without a nose, long before Napoleon was born. Therefore, it seems that the French conqueror was not to be blamed after all. In addition, the sphinx used to have a fake beard/chin piece identical to that of the pharaohs, but it fell off and now it’s exhibited in the British Museum in London.
Finally, it’s important to say that the Great Sphinx hides many secrets that have not yet been discovered due to a lack of sources and research. Archaeologists are still confirming information about this imposing guard of the dead that receives millions of visitors each year. Perhaps in your next Egyptian adventure you can help discover its history.