Probably my earliest memory of ever seeing the Sphinx comes the Disney movie Aladdin. During Aladdin and Jasmine’s magic carpet ride they fly past a man working on the Sphinx. The man become startled when he sees them waiving at him and accidentally chips off the nose. But what else is there to know about this structure other than it being a massive architectural feat of the ancient world.
At a length of 236 feet, the Sphinx is the largest remaining structure of the ancient world. The head is human (thought to be the face of the Pharaoh Khafre) and the body of a lion and was built using natural bedrock and blocks of limestone. Why was it built? No one knows the real answer but it is thought that it may stand as a symbolic guard over the Giza plateau. The Sphinx faces the rising sun and was worshiped by some Egyptians as an aspect of the sun god. Egyptians would come to the small chapel in between the giant paws to honor the god.
As great as it would be, it was not Aladdin’s fault that the Sphinx no longer has a nose. There are many theories such as it being Napoleon’s fault or getting blown off by a lucky shot during target practice. However, the most accepted answer is that Sufis in the 8th century AD saw it as a blasphemous idol and removed the nose to deface it (haha get it. . . de”face”).
Some fun facts about the Sphinx:
- In antiquity, its face was painted dark red
- It used to have a stone beard and a cobra on its forehead.
- For a long time the face was interpreted as a woman because of these missing pieces.
The Sphinx was not an easy task to complete. Being that it is still standing relatively intact to this day there is no “wonder” that it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.