'End of the world': Did Egypt’s Sphinx really close its eyes?
Pictures of the statue of the Great Sphinx of Giza with its eyes closed that had recently gone viral have sparked a debate on social media.
After the pictures circulated online, some social media users adopted the theory that the pictures were real, indicating a sign of the end of the world.
In contrast, others, who believed the whole subject was nothing but a fiasco, used the photos to create funny memes that satirised the deteriorating social and economic situation in Egypt.
Prominent archaeologist Bassam El-Shamaa tends to believe that “the pictures were doctored.”
“If you look at the circulated photos of the statue, made of limestone, you will recognise the difference of the degree of the colour of his closed eyes than the rest of the head,” Shamaa told The New Arab.
“The pictures could be only real if we bear in mind the angle at which they were taken given the fact that the Sphinx faces the east viewing the sunset with the pyramids on the west side, of course, depending on the time of the day,” he argued.
The ministry of tourism and antiquities officials refuted the credibility of the pictures.
Located near the Pyramids in Giza, west of the capital Cairo, the Great Sphinx of Giza - built with a lion’s body and a human head - is probably the most famous sculpture in the world that is associated with ancient Egypt and dates dates back to 2500 BC.
MP Nora Ali, head of the tourism and aviation committee at the parliament, said that the rumour could benefit the tourism sector in Egypt, especially since it had already spread abroad.
After the pictures went viral, many rushed to the scene to see for themselves what the Sphinx looked like and took pictures and video footage of it.
Tourism is one of the significant sources of Egyptian national income.
However, most tourism workers have been financially struggling due to the sector’s decline in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year, former Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa presented a controversial theory that sent shockwaves across the country, arguing that the Sphinx was the statue of Prophet Idris who initiated the construction of the Pyramids.