The Sphinx of Giza or the Great Sphinx of Giza is a giant monument, erected in the time of Ancient Egypt that is located near the Pyramids of Egypt, on the west bank of the River Nile, just outside Cairo.
The presence of the three pyramids (Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure) and the Sphinx as a guardian makes the Giza Necropolis, one of the most famous archaeological sites in Egypt, Africa and the world.
The great Sphinx is located in the Giza Plateau, in Egypt (Africa), researchers believe that the date of its construction was around 2500 BC, during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre; however, some point out that its age is much older: erected in 10,000 BC.
The term sphinx derived from the Egyptian language “shesep ankh”, which means “living image”, that is, it would act as a guardian of the Giza Plateau, representing the strength of Pharaoh.
History portrays that the Sphinx was built with the head of Pharaoh Khafre. For the ancient Egyptians it represented a deity: The Sun God “Ra”.
Legend has it that around 1400 BC Thutmose IV rested beside the great Sphinx of Giza and had a dream about the sun god, asking him to remove the sand that covered it; in return, the god would transform him into a great Pharaoh.
Among the lion’s immense paws, it is possible to find a red granite plate describing this passage. Some scholars believe that it was painted red, however over time the coloring has disappeared.
With sandstorms in place, the sphinx’s body was completely covered for millennia, being fully discovered in 1925. In addition, it has been restored several times and is currently one of the most visited monuments by tourists from all over the world.
Structure of the great Sphinx of Giza
The Sphinx has an interesting structure based on a mythical figure that includes a lion’s body and a human head with a real turban turned towards the rising sun. For the ancient Egyptian people, the lion represented an important protection figure.
Made of limestone, it is 73 meters long, 19 meters wide and 20 meters high and represents the largest Sphinx on the planet and also the largest statue carved out of a large block of stone.
Mysteries of the great Sphinx of Giza
One of the greatest mysteries about the Sphinx is related to the date on which the monument was erected and also to the loss of the nose, one meter wide.
Many hypotheses revolve around this issue, whether due to the loss in one of the Napoleonic invasions, or even the erosion caused by time.
Is there anything inside the Sphinx?
The Great Sphinx of Giza was made by sculpting a limestone mound located on the Giza plateau. It has a height of about twenty meters, measuring the face more than five meters. The head could represent the pharaoh Khafre, having his body the shape of a lion.
Where is the nose of the great Sphinx of Giza?
Between “1798:1801” Egypt underwent the Napoleonic conquest and it is in this period that French troops are supposed to have smashed the nose of the Great Sphinx, either by cannons or by riddling the ancient Egyptian monument with bullets.
Is shocking that an army was accompanied by a large group of sages who were going to publish the first great scientific work of Egyptology “La Description de l’Égypte”, were at the same time so insensitive to the pharaonic legacy as to destroy it with their weapons.
In addition, to the relief of Napoleon and his army, it must be borne in mind that the Sphinx of Giza is known to have had no nose before Napoleon’s army set foot on Egyptian lands.
This evidence is found in drawings made by the Danish architect Norden Frederick Lewis Norden where we can see that the Great Sphinx already had no nose in 1737.
It is true that the same year, the Englishman Richard Pococke also made drawings of the Sphinx, in this case with his nose set, but it is more credible that Pococke had exercised his artistic license to show the monument in its original state than Norden had invented the absence of the olfactory organ.
The key to the mystery is in a document by the 15th century Arab historian Muhammad al-Husayni Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi, who in his book al-Mawa iz wa al-itibar fi dhikr al-khitat wa al-athar, tells that the nose and Ears were destroyed in 1378 by the Sufi leader Sa’im al-dahr, who was offended The Sphinx according to Richard Pocockeby the devotion of the Egyptians to the monument and wanted to “remedy a religious error”.
For his crime, Sa’im al-dah was accused of vandalism and executed, but the damage had already been done.
Incidentally, I must add that the chin found under the head of the sphinx, currently in the British Museum in London, was apparently added after the construction of the main monument, as there are no signs of damage to the jaw that one would expect to find if it had been part of the original construction.