Egypts Minister of Tourism
May 26, 1998
Egypt Celebrates Sphinx Recovery
On May 25th, President Mubarak inaugurated the Sphinx restoration project, which took about ten years of hard work to complete. The comprehensive restoration work is the first of its kind in modern history, but the statue will need continuous care and supervision.
When the ancient Egyptians prepared to build the Sphinx, they realized that the stones they had to work on were fragile, therefore they chose to support them with an outer layer of stones in order to preserve the statue, which had to be built at this specific location for religious and astronomical reasons. Dr. Zahi Hawass, Director General of Giza Archaeological Department, states that the first restoration operation of the Sphinx took place 3500 years ago (1550 BC) under the guidance of Tuthmoses IV, who was the first archaeologist in the world and the first to detect problems with the statue. The second and third restorations of the Sphinx were carried out 30 and 50 years BC.
Nevertheless, the statue's condition has deteriorated over the centuries until a decision was taken, that the Sphinx should undergo extensive scientific research in order to diagnose its ailment and to prescribe the most suitable treatment of restoration. Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, who was in charge of this work, insisted therefore, that no effort should be spared to save the world's most important monument.