The Sphinx is even more impressive in reality than it appears in pictures. Unfortunately it is cordoned off and visitors are only allowed to view it from a distance and do not have access to the temple beneath. Still, we were totally overwhelmed by its enigmatic smiling face.
The ancient Egyptians considered the Sphinx, the “Sacred Guide of the Celestial Barge“. A barge or barque is a ritual boat used to carry the resurrected king along with the Sun God Ra, across the heavens to the afterlife. The Sphinx is believed to be the holder of the password that allowed access to the Solar Barge for the journey from earthly Giza to the abode of Osiris!
In 1954, archaeologists found Khufu’s funerary Solar Barge in a chamber beneath his pyramid at Giza, undisturbed for centuries. The original Lebanese Cedar planks and Halfah grass ropes still incredibly intact! The ropes were too weak to be used for the reconstruction though.
It took years for the barge to be re-assembled and it is now displayed in a modern air-conditioned museum, built right above the pit where it was fdiscovered. The well designed boat shaped building does seem a bit incongruous in its setting against the Great Pyramid, but the air conditioned interior is a welcome respite from the sweltering heat of he desert sun.
For all you doubting Thomases…….this IS the real thing. The original vessel, re-assembled from components from more than 5000 years ago. Disbelief slowly gives way to total amazement! And goosebumps, at the thought that those ancient planks of wood came from trees that were alive during the lifetime of the Pharaoh!
Do not miss this museum when you visit Giza.