Egypt celebrates the renovation of the Sphinx
Egypt, Culture, 5/26/1998
The sphinx, one of the most important historic monuments and one of the most mysterious received a face-lift that was celebrated yesterday.
The Sphinx's origin is mired in mystery and controversy. It has been claimed that there is a chamber under it, that if it is allowed to be dug, will reveal in it the origin of the limestone monument, which some say goes back 5,000 years and represents the Pharaoh Khafre, while a new and controversial study by Boston University's Professor Robert Schoch, accompanied by John Anthony West, claims that the Sphinx's age is more than 9,000 years, and its origin goes back to pre-pharoanic times and that the statue's current head was carved over an older representation of an animal's head.
The Sphinx, 187 feet long and 66 feet high, has had many restorations done in the past, and this latest one covered the body, but not the the face where there is some material loss. It stands on Giza plateau, near the pyramid of Cheops.
Egypt celebrated yesterday the completion of the restoration of the Sphinx, where Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, UNESCO director-general Frederico Mayor and a great number of international personalities and state officials gathered to celebrate this historical event and cultural achievement.
The celebration began by removing a white curtain covered with golden stars that was covering the body of the statue, carried by a group of boys wearing Pharaonic garments.
Mayor, whose organization presented great financial support for the restoration, also delivered a speech at the celebration, saying, "The Sphinx is the symbol of our past, and our common future, for vision and resorts. We can rise. We can better share, hand in hand today. It can be a new project for our future. It has been a cooperative project involving many countries, and attracted many international institutions. A project like this is a representative of the modern world.
"Millions of art lovers have been following the restoration of Sphinx and a great number of people came to participate in this celebration."
He added, "I like to repeat that the most important monument to preserve is the human being.
"We have to preserve peace, according to the charter of the UN. We the people of the world must save our children from the core of war and violence, thus there will be no security without peace.
"I wish to give thanks to Mr. Mubarak for his efforts and all those people for attending this celebration, and to pay tribute to the project carried out by the Ministry of Culture all participating institutions and foundations and to give special thanks and appreciation to President Mubarak for his permanent efforts to make peace prevail, and ensure the role of Egypt in Middle East. We could work together to make sure that the Sphinx of Giza remains a wonder among the world's monuments."
The renovation took 10 years and the total costs reached LE 10 million at a rate of LE 80,000 monthly.
Mayor views today the celebration of finishing the repair works of Sphinx
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