Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt. Image: Σταύρος

Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt. Image: Σταύρος

The great sphinx of Giza is incarnation of a mythical creature with a human head on the body of a lion. Standing in the Giza necropolis since 2500 B.C., the great sphinx symbolizes the essence of Egyptian mythology, culture and history.

The regal statue of Sphinx was carved out of living rock, and it is located about six miles in the west of Cairo in the Giza Plateau. It is 200 feet long and 65 feet high with paws being 50 feet long. The great Sphinx of Giza is considered to be the greatest monumental sculpture in the ancient world.

The Great Sphinx
Image © David Lazar

The Sphinx carving tradition is a very ancient art, the traces of which can be found from many pre historic civilizations. Generally the role of sphinxes relates to architectural structures such as royal tombs or religious temples. According to the most believed theory, the Sphinx of Giza was erected by the 4th Dynasty King, Khafre (2558-2532 B.C.). He was the son of Khufu (AKA Cheops) and the Sphinx just lies with the Pyramid of Khafre. It remained buried for centuries in the desert sand and ultimately it reappeared in 1905 when the sand was cleared.

Facing to the horizon towards east, in the ancient times the Egyptians had astronomical beliefs in it as the protector of the universe. There is a famous Dream Stela which is a rectangular stone with a rounded top, and that was placed between the front legs of Sphinx by king Thutmose IV. It is believed that he met with the god Harmachis in a dream, who was representing the Sphinx, and he asked Thutmose to clear the sand around his head and in the return he will be rewarded with the throne.

Statue of Great Sphinx of Giza at Cairo
Image © Julia

The head of the Sphinx is damaged in various places but the traces of the original color can be observed near one ear. The archeologists suggest that the Sphinx was decorated with beautiful colors. The nose and beard of the Sphinx have been broken away. However recently marvelous restoration work on the Sphinx has been executed by the Egyptians. It now features a sound and light display where it seems as though narrating its story.

The largest monolith statue of the world, the great Sphinx of Giza is no doubt a unique gift by the prestigious Egyptian civilization.  In the awful deserts of Cairo, it exhibits the eternity of the Egyptian’s strength.

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