Egypt has many historical places that are very interesting to visit. Ancient Egypt has many enigmas and secrets that archaeologists do not have an exact explanation for these enigmas. The Giza Complex is the most famous and interesting place in Cairo.
You cannot visit Cairo without visiting the Three Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. You can highlight in Giza Complex “the Great Pyramid of Cheops” (as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) and the Great Sphinx because they have many secrets that do not know.
The ancient Egyptians built the sphinxes as symbols of strength and intelligence that’s why it was important to build the sphinxes with a lion’s body and a human head that represents the power and strength of the King.
In Pharaonic belief, the lion is the symbol of strength and guardian, so you can find it on their amulets, furniture, and doors of temples. The most famous sphinx is the Great Sphinx of Giza. The Great Sphinx is the oldest and largest in the world.
Many mysteries are surrounding the time of its construction and the lack of its nose. Its name in Egyptian Arabic is “Abu Al Houl” which means the father of terror. It is on the west bank of the Nile River, on the Giza Plateau, 20 km from the center of Cairo.
The Origin of the Name
The word sphinx is from the Greek word “sphinxes” which means to squeeze. The “sphinxes” in the myth is a beast that had the wings of an eagle, the head of a woman, and the body of a lion. The Great Sphinx is wingless and has the head of a man.
The ancients from the New Empire gave it the name “Shesep-anj” which means the living image. By Coptic influence, its name was “Bel-hit”, which translates in Egyptian to “hu or ju”, meaning guardian. But his current name is “Abu Al Houl” (father of terror).
The History of the Sphinx
Archaeologists are not sure of the exact time to build the Sphinx. It was said to have been built by King Cheops in the fourth dynasty. It was also said to have been built before the construction of the Giza Pyramids because the erosion on the Sphinx was from water dating back to the Ice Age.
It was said that the sun god “Hor-em-Ajet” (Horus on the horizon) is represented by the temple in front of the Sphinx. But they accepted that it was built by King Kephren (the King of the second pyramid of Giza), as guardian of his pyramid, in 2500 BC in the fourth dynasty because the face of the Sphinx resembles that of Kephren.
The Sphinx was buried in the sand for many years. A granite slab called “the wake of dreams” (144 cm high, 40 cm wide, and 70 cm thick) is found on the front legs of the Sphinx. This stele tells the dream of King Tutomsis IV when he was a prince who promised to be the king if Tutomsis IV restored the Sphinx from the sand. During the following centuries, the Sphinx was buried but the sand was removed until it was finished in the 1920s.
The Construction of the Sphinx
The Sphinx was sculpted, facing east, in the limestone quarry that stood at this location. Its height is 20 m and its length is 70 m. The face is 5 m and the front legs are 15 m. Its form today without colors is different from its former form. It had a red body and the face and nemes were striped with yellow and blue.
At the end of the Sphinx is a large tail. Her head is better preserved than her body because the headstone is harder and the body was buried in the sand for many years. The Sphinx had a beard but lost it during restoration by Tutomisis IV in the 14th-century z. c. but the beard remains are in the British Museum in London.
The Lack of His Nose
The exact cause of the missing nose of the Sphinx is not known. It was said that Napoleon during the French campaign destroyed the nose but the drawings of Frederic Louis Norden, published in 1738, show that the Sphinx was without a nose 31 before Napoleon’s birth.
Others believe that it was because of the British troops or the Mamluks. It was said that when the peasants were offerings to the Sphinx, a Sufi Muslim decided to destroy the Sphinx, starting with the nose, and was hanged for that reason he did not destroy another part.
Discover Cairo Attractions with Jakada Tours Egypt
The Giza Complex is a very famous attraction in Cairo, explore its mysteries on a very interesting trip. Don’t miss the opportunity to travel to the Pharaonic land, check out our travel packages to Egypt or cruise on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan, and choose your vacation.