Thursday, March 28, 2013

Historical Thursday: the Great Sphinx of Giza

Happy Thursday ladies!
Today I thought I would bring you a site that my family and I were lucky enough to travel to last summer. Egypt! I have loads of pictures from various places around Cairo and I've actually shared some of the Muhammad Ali Mosque a couple of weeks ago. Today I thought I would bring you one of the most well known in Egypt, the Great Sphinx of Giza. 
To be near it was completely surreal. Not to mention the pyramids but that's for another post :) Although I will mention that the pyramid you can see here is called the Pyramid of Khafre and it is the only one that still retains any of the shiny, white limestone at the top. So on to the Sphinx, I thought it would be a whole heck of a lot larger than it actually was. I mean of course it's this giant stone statue but I thought it would be way taller than what it actually was!
This is unfortunately as close as you can get to the face of the sphinx. You can no longer walk up to the paws like you were able to before. They are doing restoration work on and off and don't want anymore destruction to be done to the body. I was honestly astounded by how much damage some of the blocks of stones on the pyramids had. People had scratched their initials and names into the stones. Seriously, WTF?! It hurts my heart that anybody would think that's ok?!
The picture above gives you an aerial view of what I'm standing in front of. I was in front of that stone in the upper left hand corner. I cannot remember what temple this was that we passed through before getting to the sphinx. Sorry! 
It's head is so tiny compared to the rest of its body. Totally not at all proportional. There is so much dissent between Egyptologists and archaeologists alike as to who built this great statue. Most think that it was Khafre, who I told you was also the builder of the pyramid behind it, but a lot of historians are now starting to believe that it was built before his time. Some are now saying that Khufu, Khafre's father and predecessor, built the statue. There's even a third theory saying that Djedefre, a little know Pharaoh, son to Khufu, and half brother to Khafre built it for Khufu in the likeness of the sun god Ra to restore respect to the dynasty. 
WOOOOO... that was a mouthful! So conclusion no one know for sure who built it! There's no inscriptions on it anywhere either which is not helpful at all.
The stone that the body is made out of is really low quality limestone bedrock and thus is eroding at a rapid pace. The heat, wind, and smog in Egypt do not help the preservation of this beautiful creature at all! As there is dissenting opinions as to who built it there are also dissenting opinions as to what should be done to maintain it. I don't know what the right way of fixing it is but someone needs to figure it out quickly because the integrity of the body is deteriorating rapidly.
Don't know how many of you know this but the sphinx used to have a beard. It has since fallen off and part of it and the headdress are scattered between the Cairo museum and the British museum. The beard though is thought to have been a later addition since its falling did not damage the chin. This picture also depicts a missing nose, duh right? Well when was it destroyed? Have you heard the story that Napoleon's canon fire destroyed it? I have and it's completely false. There is photographic evidence that the nose was already detached before Napoleon's time. It is actually believed to have been destroyed by a Sufi Muslim, Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr, in rage because the peasants were making ceremonial offerings to control the flooding of the Nile. Even though this story is not 100% verified it is what most believe happened to it.
I hope I didn't completely bore you with all this huge amount of information. I hope you actually learned a little bit! The picture above is me, obviously, and my dad... just thought I would include it because he loves to dress like an extreme tourist everywhere we go. So embarrassing really. 

Y'all have an amazing Easter weekend! I know I will be partaking in some of the Easter fun.
With all my LOVE,

Pati


13 comments:

  1. This is AMAZING. Egypt must have been totally fascinating. I wish so badly to be able to go one day!

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    1. If you can you should get there for sure! It was so breath taking.

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  2. Wow this is AWESOME!! I would love to visit Egypt one day!!!!

    http://littleowlblog.com

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  3. Haha, aw tourist dad. I love it.
    I loved all the details. I felt like I heard or read a thing or two you mentioned (while I was in school), but it's always helpful to have a refresher. I'm loving these new series. I'm learning so much.
    Also, thanks for your kind comment, from the other day. :)

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    1. MY dad is pretty ridiculous for sure. Never fails for him to look like that on a trip. I love having this series. I love history and my heart longs to travel! You're welcome...anytime

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  4. I still think it's so freaking awesome that you went there, and thanks for all of the great info, I also thought he would be a lot bigger!

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    1. He definitely was not as big as I thought! I love writing these posts.

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  5. Wow, this looks amazing! I have always wanted to go visit the pyramids, we did a HUGE project on Egypt in 7th grade that was like 100 pages long, haha. How awesome!

    ~Alyssa
    www.butterfliesonmars.blogspot.com

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    1. Whattt?! 100 pages? That's insane... in 7th grade no less!

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  6. This is incredible! I've always been fascinated by Egyptian history. I like the little tidbits you gave. I have no idea it had a beard. Very cool.

    Mandy
    Nestled in Nostalgia

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Thank you so much for commenting! It totally makes my day a little better when you do!