Thursday, September 25, 2014

News, Giza: Sphinx will undergo renovation - Antiquities Minister

CAIRO:  Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh el-Damaty announced the 4,000-year-old Great Sphinx at Giza Plateau will undergo partial renovation over the next two months, Youm7 reported Thursday.

“The Sphinx has been repeatedly renovated several times during the past few decades due to the poor state of the rock from which it was carved from and the sewage system installed in the nearby Cairo suburb of Nazlet el-Samman,” Damaty said.

In spite of the many restoration works previously carried out, the problems with its rock core body, including moisture, were never addressed, Damaty said. The outer casing covering its body might have stopped its large chunks from falling but its effects on the natural rock surface, which had been collapsing, remained unknown.

The Great Sphinx, a guardian of the necropolis at Giza from evil, eroded drastically as it has endured centuries of abuse, wind, humidity, and smog of modern Cairo, Nour el-Din said and that attempts to restore it have often caused more harm than good.

In 1920, the Sphinx was restored with cement and gypsum mortar which caused cracks and stresses within the statue’s soft limestone. In 1988, a large limestone chunk fell from its shoulder, dean of Minya University’s Faculty of Tourism and Hotels Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Thursday. “Being under the sand and the dry heat for over fourteen centuries has helped preserve this amazing monument,” Sabban said.

The Sphinx, the oldest existing colossal sculpture in the history of mankind located at the foot of Giza Pyramids, was carved from one piece of limestone rock for Pharaoh Chephren about 2650 B.C, former head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Abdel Halem Nour el-Din told The Cairo Post Thursday.

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