The Sphinx

P.EGYPT-45

The Sphinx and the Pyramid of Cheops, Giza, Egypt

Standing guard at 20 metres (66 ft) above the desert floor, the 73 metre (240 ft) long Sphinx was once almost completely buried by sand except for the head which was severely damaged long before it was unearthed. Rumoured to have had the nose shot off it by Napoleon and his men some 200 years ago. The truth is it was vandalized much earlier than that in 1378 A.D. by Mohammed Saim al-Dahr, a “fanatical sufi of the oldest and most highly respected sufi convent of Cairo.” The residents in the neighbourhood of the Sphinx were so upset by the destruction that they lynched him and buried him by the great monument he ruined. Today it is an awe inspiring sight, with the Pyramid of Cheops looming in the background. Cheops at 145 metres (475 ft) tall, is the world’s largest with two and a half million lime stone blocks, some weighing up to 50 tons. Said to be an estimated 4,700 years old, these monuments are truly one of the world’s great wonders. One of many great architectural feats before the invention of any powered machinery.

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