"Egypt" Egypt by dr.firas

Egypt Travel Guide: 16,117 reviews and 41,173 photos


The Great Sphinx was believed to stand as a guardian of the Giza Plateau, where it faces the rising sun. It was the focus of solar worship in the Old Kingdom, centered in the adjoining temples built around the time of its probable construction. Its animal form, the lion, has long been a symbol associated with the sun in ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Images depicting the Egyptian king in the form of a lion smiting his enemies appear as far back as the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt. During the New Kingdom, the Sphinx became more specifically associated with the god Hor-em-akhet (Greek Harmachis) or Horus at the Horizon, which represented the Pharaoh in his role as the Shesep ankh of Atum (living image of Atum). A temple was built to the northeast of the Sphinx by King Amenhotep II, nearly a thousand years after its construction, dedicated to the cult of Horemakhet.
The Great Sphinx is one of the world’s largest and oldest statues, yet basic facts about it such as the real-life model for the face, when it was built, and by whom, are debated. These questions have collectively earned the title “Riddle of the Sphinx,” a nod to its Greek namesake, although this phrase should not be confused with the original Greek legend.
The Great Sphinx is commonly accepted by Egyptologists to represent the likeness of King Khafra (also known by the Hellenised version of his name, Chephren) who is often credited as the builder as well. This would place the time of construction somewhere between 2520 BC and 2494 BC. Because the limited evidence giving provenance to Khafra is ambiguous and circumstantial, the idea of who built the Sphinx, and when, continues to be the subject of debate.

Missing Nose!
The one-meter-wide nose on the face is missing. A legend that the nose was broken off by a cannon ball fired by Napoléon’s soldiers still survives, as do diverse variants indicting British troops, Mamluks, and others. However, sketches of the Sphinx by Frederick Lewis Norden made in 1737 and published in 1755 illustrate the Sphinx without a nose. The Egyptian historian al-Maqrizi, writing in the fifteenth century, attributes the vandalism to Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr, a Sufi fanatic from the khanqah of Sa'id al-Su'ada. In 1378, upon finding the Egyptian peasants making offerings to the Sphinx in the hope of increasing their harvest, Sa'im al-Dahr was so outraged that he destroyed the nose. Al-Maqrizi describes the Sphinx as the “Nile talisman” on which the locals believed the cycle of inundation depended.
Curious and droll fictional explanations of the nose’s disappearance occasionally appear in modern entertainment set in vaguely appropriate times, such as in Asterix and Cleopatra.
In addition to the lost nose, a ceremonial pharaonic beard is thought to have been attached, although this may have been added in later periods after the original construction. Egyptologist Rainer Stadelmann has posited that the rounded divine beard may not have existed in the Old or Middle Kingdoms, only being conceived of in the New Kingdom to identify the Sphinx with the god Horemakhet. This may also relate to the later fashion of pharaohs, which was to wear a plaited beard of authority—a false beard (chin straps are actually visible on some statues), since Egyptian culture mandated that men be clean shaven. Pieces of this beard are today kept in the British Museum and the Egyptian Museum.

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  • Last visit to Egypt: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated Apr 21, 2013
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Reviews (50)

Comments (15)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2007 at 9:14 AM

    Looks like you had the most wonderful time in Egypt! Great updates!

  • BerniShand's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2006 at 1:59 PM

    you both look truly happy, I wish you every good thing for your future life together

  • Sep 28, 2006 at 5:08 AM

    Beautiful honeymoon pictures! a real pleasure to look at such a happy couple! when can we expect the wedding photos??!`-):)

  • shrimp56's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2006 at 3:24 AM

    Congratulations! May you two have a long and blessed life together!

  • pharon's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2006 at 4:24 AM

    Now this is real ROMANCEEEEEEE :))))

  • Karolina01's Profile Photo
    Aug 20, 2006 at 3:43 AM

    Congratulations Firas and Carolina!! We got married as well, ten days ago.

  • oases's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2006 at 12:05 AM

    Congratulations Doctor :)) you look great together and I envy you for this romance and I envy her to have such a husband :p

  • mardaska's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2006 at 10:43 AM

    Congratulations!!! Wonderful news!! I wish you all the best!!!

  • norain's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2006 at 5:15 AM

    congratulations :)

  • Antji's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2006 at 2:52 AM

    hi doc, thanks for your nice comment on my HP:) I read from the great news in your live here: Congratulation to you both!!:) fantastic pics and you both look really happy! ciaociao antji

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