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The Egyptian Sphinx

by: Dr.Sherin ElKhawaga
The Egyptian Sphinx

A great symbol of Ancient Egypt is the Sphinx. A magnificent monument carved out of living rock, sits outstandingly in the Giza Plateau.

It is a carving of the body of a lion with a head of a king or god, symbolizing strength and wisdom. It is 200 feet long and 65 feet high with paws being 50 feet long.
The body of the sphinx was buried in the desert sand for thousands of years and only in 1905, about a century ago, the sands has been cleared away from it. Thus, the sphinx has several layers of erosions, those that are horizontal are due to sand and stone, while some are vertical due to water (probably rain) erosions.

It is believed that the sphinx was built by king Khafre (Chephren 2558-2532B.C.) who was one of he 4th Dynasty kings and whom the 2nd pyramid of Giza was built for him.

The sphinx faces due to the east, to the horizon and this has an astronomical belief to the ancient Egyptians. It is also thought that it is a guardian of the horizon for the later journey of the kings in the life-after.

There is a large stela between the front paws of the sphinx. It was placed by king ThutmoseIV and describes the king during his hunting in the young days ,while falling asleep min the shade on the sphinx. During his sleep, he dreamt that the sphinx talked to him and told him to clear away the sand around his head and he will be rewarded by making him a pharaoh.

However the sphinx misses some pieces, his ritual beard that is now placed in the British museum. While his nose was used as a target by Napoleonís troops.

The sphinx has undergone many major restorations. It now features a sound and light display where it seems as though narrating its story. This is a much delightful tourist attraction by itself.


About the Author

egyptian radiolodist interested in egyptology

 

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