The Great Sphinx of Giza

The History of the Great Sphinx statues :

This kind of statues appeared for the first time in Egypt as scenes with two dimensional representations in the beginning of the dynastic period. However, the first representative of the king in the form of a sphinx was in the Middle of the 4th dynasty.

The first king who had a sphinx statue was King Djetef Ra, the successor of King Cheops, and it is considered as the 1st royal representation in the form of a sphinx. It was discovered nearby his pyramid at Abu-Rawash in El Giza and it is now kept in Louvre Museum.

While the largest representation was the Great Sphinx at Giza plateau, however the great sphinx itself is considered as the 1st representation of a royal sphinx in ancient Egypt depending on the fact which says that the great Sphinx belongs to king Cheops not Chephren comparing between the artistic features appeared in the sphinx statue and those artistic features of Cheops, so we found the following:

- Style of the Royal headdress "Nemes" was pleated all over its surface. While those of Chefren were partly pleated.

- The Nemes it self was decorated with strap represented in high relief and its begging over the forehead in all the statues of Chephren and all the Kings afterwards, while the Great Sphinx itself had no decoration or even this strap over the fore head.

- The representation of the Cobra itself on the Great Sphinx was partly depicted, just the out starched part of the Cobra only depicted on the forehead on the sphinx, while all the statues of King Chephren and all the kings afterwards had the representation of the whole Cobra with the body being depicted over the head.

- The false beard, which is preserved now in the British Museum and Cairo Museum, it was represented plaited and curved, this type of divine false beard appeared in the New Kingdom which make the scholars to suggest that it was added as a separated part later during the New Kingdom in order to make the statue represent the divine form of a god who is Re hr 3hty as during this period the sphinx wasn't belonging to Chephren but it was Re hr 3hty.

- The position of the sphinx it self, it was located on the south eastern part of the great pyramid of King Cheops nearby the remains of the quarries of this pyramid, but the Pyramid of Chephren has an angled caused way in order to avoid the quarries of King Cheops, so it isn't a straight cause way. And therefore being the sphinx sculptured from a remained rock of the great pyramid quarries then the sphinx should belong to King Cheops.

- While an opposite opinion said that the sphinx belong to king Chephren as his name was mentioned twice on dream stela of Tuthmosis IV and his father Amenhotep II, while the name of Cheops was mentioned only one time.

By all of these evidences, if we accept that King Cheops is the owner of the great Sphinx, so he will be the 1st one who had a sphinx in ancient Egypt and if we accept that the sphinx belong to Chephren it will be King Djdef Re who was the 1st one who had a sphinx all over Egypt.

The development of the Sphinx statues in Egypt :

During the Old Kingdom :

The sphinx statues were represented as a human head and body of a lion with the false royal beard and the names headdress.

During the Middle Kingdom :

It was just representation for the king in the form of the Sphinx and the human head surrounded with the lion mane. The 1st King who represent him self in the form of a sphinx with lion's mane was Amenemhat III , in the second half of the 12th dynasty, Middle kingdom.

During the New Kingdom :

The sculptures continue the Middle Kingdom methods, but they had added their touch which is the transforming of the fore legs of the declining lion into human arms holding a cult objects. Te first King who represented himself in such form was King Amonhotep III.

This statue was discovered in the Templeof God Montuin the Karnakcomplex. There was a new artistic feature appeared for the firat time; decorating the body of the sphinx with wings, this appeared for the firt time during the reign of king Amonhotep III

The meaning of the "Sphinx":

The word "Sphinx" is the Greek word of the original Egyptian name "Ssp Ankh" which means the living image, according to this name we can suggest that they mainly represent the king I his living image which the combination between the mental power and the Physical power. The mental power represented in the human head while the physical power represented in the Lion's body. If the sphinx is God, so it is said that the ancient Egyptians managed to tame the violent characte5r of the lion with the human intelligence turning it into a divine calm power.

The religious function of the Sphinx avenue:

Since the beginning of the 4th dynasty the sphinx statues were considered guardians of the cemeteries and it clearly appeared in the position of the great sphinx in the beginning of the royal cemetery at Al Giza Plateau. Moreover the royal sphinxes as well as the divine sphinxes were considered as protectors for processional routes connecting between two temples such as the sphinxes of the Karnak temples and also the templeof God Ptahand the serabium temple at Memphis.

This function is the representation of the life cycle, according to one of the book of the dead chapoters. They represent two sphinxes back to back one of them was called Sp while the other one is called Dwa and between them the 3ht. "Sp " means yesterday, "D3w " means tomorrow , and "3ht" means today. Comparing between this representation and the sphinx avenue, we will find that Sp on the right hand side, D3w on the left hand side and the 3ht is the route itself.

Female Sphinx statues:

Since the second half of the 12th dynasty, most of the powerful queens and princesses stared to have their own sphinx statues. The most famous sphinx statue for a lady or a queen was the sphinx statue of Queen Nefertiti wore a hair wig instead of Nemes and it was discovered in the eastern part of the Karnak complex near the ruins of the remaining parts of Aton temple.

The sphinx statues continued to be produced for the Kings even during the Greek Roman period, and most of the Roman emperors got the Egyptian sphinxes and transported then to Europein order to decorate their cities and palaces.

Enjoy Pyramid Tours while you discover Egypt Tour Package


Q- Who were the pyramids of Giza built for? A-The pyramids of Giza were royal tombs built for three different pharaohs. The northernmost and oldest pyramid of the group was built for Khufu (Greek: Cheops), the second king of the 4th dynasty. Called the Great Pyramid, it is the largest of the three. The middle pyramid was built for Khafre (Greek: Chephren), the fourth of the eight kings of the 4th dynasty. The southernmost and last pyramid to be built was that of Menkaure (Greek: Mykerinus), the fifth king of the 4th dynasty. It is 218 feet (66 metres) high, significantly smaller than the pyramids of Khufu (481.4 feet [147 metres]) and Khafre (471 feet [143 metres].

Q-What do the pyramids of Giza represent? A-Historians continue to debate about the ancient Egyptians’ use of the pyramid form for the royal tombs at Giza and in funerary sites elsewhere. Several theories have been proposed about what the form represents: the pyramid may function as a stairway for the pharaoh’s ka to reach the heavens, it could refer to the ancient mound of creation, or it might symbolize sunrays spreading to the earth.

Q-What’s inside the pyramids of Giza?A-The pyramids of Giza are mostly solid masses of stone with very little to be found inside. Like many ancient Egyptian pyramids, those of Khafre and Menkaure have passageways at their base that lead to small subterranean burial chambers underneath each pyramid. Khufu’s pyramid also has underground tunnels, but the burial chamber is located in the centre of the structure, accessible via a climb up a tight interior passageway. Contrary to what one might expect, there are no hieroglyphic texts, treasures, or mummies in any of pyramids of Giza. Decoration inside pyramids began several centuries after those of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure were constructed. Moreover, any treasure would have been plundered in ancient and medieval times—a fate that likely affected the bodies of the kings, which have never been found...

Q-How did the Egyptians build the pyramids?A- The question of how the pyramids were built has not received a wholly satisfactory answer. The most plausible one is that the Egyptians employed a sloping and encircling embankment of brick, earth, and sand, which was increased in height and length as the pyramid rose; stone blocks were hauled up the ramp by means of sledges, rollers, and levers. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, the Great Pyramid took 20 years to construct and demanded the labour of 100,000 men. This figure is believable given the assumption that these men, who were agricultural labourers, worked on the pyramids only (or primarily) while there was little work to be done in the fields—i.e., when the Nile River was in flood. By the late 20th century, however, archaeologists had found evidence that a more limited workforce may have occupied the site on a permanent rather than a seasonal basis. It was suggested that as few as 20,000 workers, with accompanying support personnel (bakers, physicians, priests, etc.), would have been adequate for the taske.

Q-Can you go inside or climb the pyramids of Giza?A-The interiors of all three pyramids of Giza are open to visitors, but each requires the purchase of a separate ticket. Although tourists were once able to freely climb the pyramids, that is now illegal. Offenders face up to three years in prison as penalty. In 2016 a teenage tourist was banned from visiting Egypt for life after posting photos and videos on social media of his illicit climb.

Q-What are the Must be Visited Places in Egypt? A-The entire country of Egypt deserve to be seen with its every heavenly detail but there are places that must be seen such as the breathtaking Hurghada's red sea, The wonders of Cairo the pyramids of Giza, the great sphinx, the Egyptian Museum, Khan El Khalili, the wonders of Luxor like Valley of the Kings, Karnak and Hatshepsut temple and the wonders of Aswan like Abu Simbel temples, Philea temple, Unfinished obelisk and The Wonders of Alexandria like Qaitbat Citadel, Pompey's Pillar and Alexandria Librare.

Q-What is the Best Time to Visit Egypt? A-The best time to travel to Egypt is during the winter from September to April as the climate becomes a bit tropical accompanied by a magical atmosphere of warm weather with a winter breeze. You will be notified in the week of your trip if the weather is unsafe and if any changes have been made.