Fact Check

Has the Great Sphinx of Giza Closed Its Eyes?

There is more to this rumor than meets the eye on this Egyptian landmark.

Published May 19, 2022

 (Johnny 201/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Johnny 201/Wikimedia Commons
Claim:
The Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt has shut its eyes.

Fact Check

The Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt has finally closed its eyes after staring down armies, royals, archaeologists, visitors, and tourists over the centuries — at least according to extremely incorrect photographs on social media. 

The statue, thought to represent Pharoah Kafre, who ruled there around 2500 B.C., was originally constructed with its eyes open, but social media users recently claimed that somehow, the creature was getting some shut-eye. The statue is of a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. 

The claims were quickly debunked by Egyptian authorities. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities told Erem News — an independent media company covering news in the Arab world — that the photographs were photoshopped, and added that this was not the first time rumors had spread about the Great Sphinx. 

Tourism Egypt, a tourism information center, said on Facebook that the photographs were either edited or shot at a particular angle that made it look like the eyes were closed. The center added that a quick search on Getty Images shows the site on numerous dates with its eyes open. 

Given that official sources have debunked this rumor, we rate this claim as “False.”

Sources:

Ayoubi, Nur. “Egypt: Has Great Sphinx Really Closed Its Eyes?” Middle East Eye, 16 May 2022, https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-great-sphinx-closed-eyes-really. Accessed 19 May 2022.

Momni, Mohammad. أبو الهول النائم يثير الجدل في مصر.. ومصدر بالآثار يوضح. https://www.eremnews.com/entertainment/legal-cases/2381854. Accessed 19 May 2022.

Sphinx Egypt Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images. https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/sphinx-egypt?assettype=image&license=rf&alloweduse=availableforalluses&family=creative&phrase=sphinx%20egypt&sort=newest&suppressfamilycorrection=true. Accessed 19 May 2022.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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