The Egyptian Great Sphinx is one of the largest and oldest sculptures in the world, shrouded in many mysteries that are still largely unknown.
This enormous statue with the body of a lion and a human head is located on the west bank of the Nile River, near Cairo. The structure is made from a solid piece of limestone and has the following dimensions: length – 73 m, width – 19 m, height – 20 m.
The Colored Sphinx
It’s hard to imagine now, but the sculpture was once painted. Remnants of red, yellow, and blue paint have been found. The monument is now the natural color of the grey sandstone.
When the Statue Was Built
Despite modern technological advances, the age of the Sphinx is still in question. There are two versions of the scientists:
● The official version states that the statue was erected during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre (2.5 thousand years BC).
● According to hydrologists’ research, the sculpture was built approximately 8 thousand years ago.
The Sphinx’s Beard
It’s hard to believe, but the Sphinx once had a beard. Due to severe erosion, the beard remains were moved to a museum. French geologists argue that the beard appeared later than the statue’s face. They support their argument by saying that if the beard was originally there, its removal would have severely damaged the rest of the face.
Where the Sphinx’s Nose Went
The fact that the nose was destroyed remains largely unknown. Some insist that Napoleon Bonaparte was responsible for the damage. Supposedly, due to his arrogance, he ordered the statue’s nose to be cut off. Other researchers refer to earlier drawings that confirm that the nose was missing long before Napoleon’s birth.
Was the Sculpture Ever Completed?
The discovery of stone blocks and tools near the sculpture suggests that the construction was halted for unknown reasons.
Who was involved in the construction?
Until recently, scientists were confident that slaves worked on the construction. However, the discovery of archaeologist Mark Lehner has cast doubt on this. He excavated fossilized remains of food, among which were meat products.
The exact function of the Sphinx in ancient Egyptian culture remains unknown:
● Egyptologists believe that the statue was dedicated to the Nile and the Sun;
● Another theory suggests that the sculpture symbolizes the four seasons;
● Mark Lehner maintains that the Great Sphinx and the Giza pyramids were created to harness solar energy;
● Graham Hancock claims that the structure mirrors the constellations of Leo and Orion.
What is inside the Sphinx?
Disagreements about the mysterious chambers continue to this day. Japanese researchers discovered a secret room and a long tunnel inside the Sphinx. Fearing that further exploration would harm the statue, the Egyptians banned further research.
The destruction of the Sphinx
It’s hard to imagine, but the statue could be destroyed. And it would not be nature’s fault, but human’s. The monument was attempted to be destroyed by:
● soldiers who shot at it;
● an Egyptian ruler who ordered the nose to be cut off (or it may have been Napoleon);
● the corrosive smoke of Cairo factories that can penetrate the structure’s pores.
The name of the statue
The ancient Egyptian name of the structure remains unknown. The current name “Sphinx” is a Greek word meaning “strangler.” This name likely originated from the myth in which the Great Sphinx posed riddles to travelers, and if someone answered incorrectly, it strangled them. However, medieval Arabs referred to the statue as the “father of terror” in their texts.